Arts and Culture
A preliminary survey of the fiction in Nanyang Zonghui Xinbao was presented at ICAS10 a year ago. This is a continuation of the previous work. In my previous attempt anecdotes were ignored. Through careful reading of some of the anecdotes I have determined that they closely followed the compositional model of LIaozhai Zhiyi but allowed the introduction of new elements, especially from the West. Some attention will be given to those rare innovative pieces to artistry and novel thinking. Characters, especially women, will be paid in this of analysis to whether there are innovative views on Confucian ethics, if possible from a feminist perspective.
Generic and structural features will be studied, and particular care will be accorded to indicators of the transitional stage where the literary style was being gradually replaced by colloquial language in the 1920s. Prominent authors of this period will be identified, if possible, as well as the extent to which foreign techniques especially those from the West are being applied by amateurish story writers. Pioneering works in both Chinese and English will be consulted. for instance, David L. Kenley’s New Culture in a New World: The May Fourth Movement and the Chinese Diaspora in Singapore 1919-1932, although it touches less on the early 1920s where this paper is concentrated and also pays less attention to fiction as an art form. Other journal articles such as Philip Holden’s “The Nation’s Margins: The Social Place of Literature in Singapore” can serve as good reference for comparative studies.