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The National Allegory Revisited: Writing Private and Public in Contemporary Taiwan

The National Allegory Revisited: Writing Private and Public in Contemporary Taiwan The National Allegory Revisited: Writing Private and Public in Contemporary Taiwan Margaret Hillenbrand The idea for this article began some time ago when I gave a presentation on questions of national identity in contemporary Taiwanese fiction at an academic gathering. As soon as I had finished speaking, a well-known scholar of modern Chinese literature who was in the audience shot up his hand and asked in cool tones whether I was familiar with Fredric Jameson’s theory of the “third-world national allegory” — and if so, whether I was comfortable with the fact that the focus on national identities in my essay seemed to echo Jameson’s infamous paradigm and its “patronizing” take on the literary non-West. As it happens, Jameson’s essay, entitled “Third-World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism” (1986), was one of the very first things I read as a graduate student. It was mandatory reading, as was the brilliant polemic by Aijaz Ahmad — published in the following issue of Social Text — which ripped Jameson’s paradigm to shreds. At the time, positions 14:3 doi 10.1215/10679847-2006-016 Copyright 2006 by Duke University Press positions 14:3 Winter 2006 I was horrified by the question and hastily tried to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png positions asia critique Duke University Press

The National Allegory Revisited: Writing Private and Public in Contemporary Taiwan

positions asia critique , Volume 14 (3) – Dec 1, 2006

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
© 2006 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1067-9847
eISSN
1067-9847
DOI
10.1215/10679847-2006-016
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The National Allegory Revisited: Writing Private and Public in Contemporary Taiwan Margaret Hillenbrand The idea for this article began some time ago when I gave a presentation on questions of national identity in contemporary Taiwanese fiction at an academic gathering. As soon as I had finished speaking, a well-known scholar of modern Chinese literature who was in the audience shot up his hand and asked in cool tones whether I was familiar with Fredric Jameson’s theory of the “third-world national allegory” — and if so, whether I was comfortable with the fact that the focus on national identities in my essay seemed to echo Jameson’s infamous paradigm and its “patronizing” take on the literary non-West. As it happens, Jameson’s essay, entitled “Third-World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism” (1986), was one of the very first things I read as a graduate student. It was mandatory reading, as was the brilliant polemic by Aijaz Ahmad — published in the following issue of Social Text — which ripped Jameson’s paradigm to shreds. At the time, positions 14:3 doi 10.1215/10679847-2006-016 Copyright 2006 by Duke University Press positions 14:3 Winter 2006 I was horrified by the question and hastily tried to

Journal

positions asia critiqueDuke University Press

Published: Dec 1, 2006

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