Dusty Quotations

__________________________

Who is Eileen Chang?

Eileen Chang (traditional Chinese: 張愛玲; simplified Chinese: 张爱玲; pinyin: Zhāng Àilíng; Wade–Giles: Chang1 Ai4-ling2; September 30, 1920 – September 8, 1995), also known as Chang Ai-ling or Zhang Ailing, or by her pen name Liang Jing (梁京), was a Chinese-born American essayist, novelist, and screenwriter. She is a well-known feminist in Chinese history, known for portraying life in the 1940s Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Chang was born with an aristocratic lineage and educated bilingually in Shanghai. She gained literary prominence in Japanese-occupied Shanghai between 1943 and 1945. However, after the Communist takeover of China, she fled the country. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, she was rediscovered by scholars such as C. T. Hsia and Shui Jing. Together with the re-examination of literary histories in the post-Mao era during the late 1970s and early 1980s, she rose again to literary prominence in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mainland China, and the Chinese diaspora communities.  In the early 1990s, Zhang Ailing became popular to the people in China mainland again.

Chang was a realist and modernist writer. Her most important contribution was her construction of a unique wartime narrative, one that deviated from the grand accounts of national salvation and revolution. She sought to recount the seemingly irrelevant details and experiences of daily life of ordinary men and women in periods of social change and violence. Chang was also known for her view of modern history, displaying colours, lines, and moods in her writing and juxtaposition of historical reality with the domain of domesticity.

Works in English translation

Leave a Reply