Monday, March 16, 2009

Little Reunion (小团圆) - Eileen Chang

Roland Soong's amazing blog EastSouthWestNorth has recently been jammed up due to a considerably large event - the publication of a posthumous, autobiographical manuscript of Eileen Chang's. (Free international shipping of the volume on YesAsia - what YesAsia is, I'm not quite sure. )

According to his recent post, it's already gone through FIVE PRINTINGS in the last month since its release in HK and Taiwan. 

I first discovered Soong was the executer of her literary estate when I came across these archives of letters, commentary, and other resources when I was doing dinky research for my dinky project on Ang Lee. It seemed like a funny venue to be discovering these (I wondered why I wasn't stumbling into NTU or HKU's websites), and the rich and luminous commentary was a welcome medium of transfer.  A sort of sad and hilarious passage he's recently translated on Lust, Caution (which apparently contains a number of factual mistakes, esp - the story was shipped to Roland Soong's father, not the poor publishing house manager described.)
At the cocktail party for the Taipei premiere of . I saw my old friend Kao Hsin-chiang come in. I asked him what he came. He said that his son Kao Ying-hsien had a role in the film (as the chauffeur and landlord) and therefore he came from Beijing to attend this premiers. I told him that I have a series of essays critical of which United Daily published without my permission. He said that his wife showed him the clippings as soon as he came back. His wife is a devout Christian who read the essays and she "promised to close her eyes and pray whenever there is any sexy scene during the movie."

I said: "You're the one who created the problem." I object to because of the story. It is based upon an Eileen Chang novel published while Kao Hsin-chiang was the chief editor of the China Times supplement section.

Kao Hsin-chiang said: "Chang's story was turned over to me in 1978 by the Hong Kong literary expert Tang Wen-piao. Tang is the initiator of the Eileen Chang craze and edited the published by China Times. When Eileen Chang saw the book in the United States, she was very angry because she felt that Tang had violated her intellectual property rights. So China Times had to stop distribution. In June 1985, the China Times Publishing House general manager called Tang Wen-piao in Taichung and told him that there were 400 more copies of the book in the warehouse. 'If you like, I will rent a van and shipped them over to you; if not, I will destroy them.' Tang said that he wanted them. So the driver brought the books over to the door of his house, and Tang had to carry them to his first-floor apartment by himself. Tang had nasopharyngeal cancer for years already, and the effort caused him to bleed to death. A friend in the Taipei literary circle cried when he learned the news: 'Sigh, Tang Wen-piao, you loved Eileen Chang to death!' In modern literary history, Tang is the only person who died as a result of loving Eileen Chang."

Of those I have read, one of my favorite posts on his Eileen Chang blog is on her bilingualism, with one tracing a discovered English language version of her essay, "A Return to the Frontier", chronicling a trip to Taiwan in 1961, and an expanded Chinese version, and another English story "Stale Mates." A second contains three English to Chinese translations of Thoreau poems, and a Chinese version of an introduction she wrote on Thoreau in a compilation of American poetry translations. 

And a last treat I found last night was a flash feature in Tofu Magazine ("mini-tofu no. 6") that plays with Eileen Chang's drawings. 

And above, a painting by Chinese artist Liu Ye, of the writer ("Zhang Ailing"), which auctioned off at $34 USD.

No comments:

Post a Comment