Maps, Myths and (Pseudo-) Paleoanthropology: The Path to the History of the Imaginary City in Dong Qi-Zhang’s Works
|Keywords:||地圖、虛構、神話、考古人類學、歷史想像(map, fabrication, myth, paleoanthropology, historical imagination）||Issue Date:||Mar-2015||Start page/Pages:||161-214||Source:||臺大中文學報||Abstract:||
This paper proceeds in three parts. The first part investigates Dong Qi-Zhang’s novels written before the publication of his Trilogy of Natural History, and thereby explores his original writing intentions and primary concerns to date. The second part elaborates on the writing strategies of British colonial myths, which includes naming rights, species, civilizations, maritime colonization, and paleoanthropology. With pseudo-paleoanthropology that features cultural interpretation, Dong not only formulates new hypotheses and concepts on these writing strategies but also raises new archaeological issues. By enhancing the inferior status of the colony, he highlights geographical imagination, local attributes, and historical origins of Hong Kong around the transfer of its sovereignty. Dong’s novels indicate how to return to Hong Kong/home, how to trace its origin along a circular timing axis, and how to uncover the complex form of time and the intricate web of history. The third part of this paper analyzes Dong’s new interpretation of the flood myth in which lands are created with mud, and demonstrates the intrinsic value of spiritual rebirth with the hero’s return from his adventures. Dong’s novels embody a universal thinking of myths, reveal the essence and crux of the fiction embedded in historical imagination, and oppose the worldview of colonial myths and power holders. He starts to trace Hong Kong’s origins with the concept of “home,” and this is distinct from the colonial myth that constructs Hong Kong’s history on the basis of a linear timing axis and the economic prosperity brought by others. Since the mixed heritage of Hong Kong tightly connects with the commercial system developed by the colonists, Dong’s novels reflect his lofty expectations for the future of Hong Kong’s literature. Through the mutual reflection of the library and the square in his novels, Dong argues that literature should raise the issues of history, commerce, and popular culture. His interpretation of the land creation myth opens up new fictional horizons for the field of literature and challenges the fiction behind the colonial myth that links Hong Kong’s commercial development to the conduct of creating land out of mud.
|Appears in Collections:||中國文學系|
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