A surprising literary journey into the young Taiwanese democracy
At a time of a globalized crisis where Taiwan's singular voice is beginning to be heard, the collection of short stories Formosana allows French-speaking readers to understand the historical and social trajectories of this island whose situation stands out in the concert of the United States. nations of the world. Literature thus appears as a privileged medium for seeing what the Taiwanese experience has to offer to the world. When speaking is often reduced to its bare minimum (a sentence, a tweet, a post), literary speaking, by showing the complexity of a society and the world, is more essential than ever. In this anthology, directed by Gwennaël Gaffric, ten texts by different authors and representative of the current Taiwanese literary scene are proposed, all written after 1987 and which address a multitude of facets of Taiwanese history and society: its political history. (the Japanese colonization, the events of February 28, 47, the white terror, the movement of "non-party", the lifting of martial law, the process of democratization of the country ...) and its social history (aboriginal movements, workers, feminists, LGBT, students, environmentalists…).
“This book “Formosana” offers a very original approach to this country, “an anomaly” according Gwennaël Gaffric, through nine carefully selected literary short stories.
These texts have an astonishing organic force."
“... Between history and contemporary social movements, we discover a living society that it is important for us to know better. Exciting. "
“... Formosana is an ideal red carpet to approach in a literary way this country whose voice is now regularly heard in the brouhaha of the world. (...) If the nine texts of the anthology were all written after 1987, they all address facets of Taiwanese history and society, offering the reader a range of literary genres in a single collection ... "
"... I got on board. From the stupidity of worshiping a statue to the flight of millions of butterflies, going through the sound of sewing machines and the love of a father, I can only strongly recommend that you buckle up your seat belt for an immediate take off for Taiwan with its talented pens!... "
"A remarkable literary, political and historical object, Formosana offers a gripping and fascinating vision of Taiwanese society and its democracy through nine touching and highly human texts. A huge achievement, a must have for all those who want to discover other horizons and voices other than those of the West."
« ... Neuf nouvelles et neuf auteurs très différents qui montrent la variété de la littérature taiwanaise. Les histoires peuvent être très réalistes ou flirter avec un côté plus onirique. (...) elle prennent des chemins détournés pour dire la vie de l'île, les différentes périodes d'occupations japonaise ou chinoise ... »
“All of these short stories are texts of great literary quality that paint over thirty years of Taiwan’s history, evoking the painful events that left their mark on people's minds. These are texts about memory, individual memory that feeds collective memory. And they are of course texts celebrating all those whose actions made it possible to end the dictatorship."
Huang Chung-kai was born in 1981 in Yunlin (Taiwan). A history graduate, he is currently editor-in-chief of the literary magazine Nouvelles. He is the author of three novels, two collections of short stories, and several other short stories in journals and magazines. He has already won several literary awards, including the New Young Writer Award from the United Daily newspaper. He is part of the new and rising generation of Taiwanese writers, regularly dealing in his novels with the relationship of Taiwanese youth to globalization. His works, of postmodern inspiration, combine references to popular culture and metafictional literary experiments.
Walis Nokan, born in 1961 in the village of Mihu, on the island of Taiwan, is a writer from the Atayal indigenous population group. He was a primary school teacher and leads many writing workshops. In the 1990s, his literary production increasingly affirmed its roots in Atayal culture. His creativity, both in his prose works and in his poems, has earned him numerous awards and distinctions. He is the author of one of the short stories of the Taipei, histoires au coin de la rue, published in 2017 by l'Asiathèque.
Wu Ming-yi, born in 1971 in Taiwan, teaches at Dong Hwa National University. Known for his environmental commitments, he is the author of several literary works, among which collections of short stories and novels. Two of his novels have been published in French: The Sleep Navigation Lines (You Feng, 2013) and The Man with the Faceted Eyes (Stock, 2014). This latest novel received the award 2014 Island Book Fiction, awarded at the International Book Fair islander of Ouessant.
Stéphane Corcuff (born in Brest in 1971) obtained his doctorate in 2000 from the Institute of Political Studies in Paris. A teacher-researcher specializing in the Chinese world, he particularly studies Taiwan - where he lived for long periods - from the perspective of the identity dynamics of its margins, its geopolitical history and its political recomposition. Director of the Taipei Branch of CEFC 2013 to 2017, he is a member of the editorial board of "China Perspectives".
Born in 1987, Gwennaël Gaffric is a lecturer in Chinese studies at Jean Moulin University Lyon 3, where he teaches Chinese language and culture. He is the author of several articles in French, English and Chinese on Chinese-speaking literature (China, Hong Kong and Taiwan). His recent research focuses on contemporary Chinese language science fiction. He is also a translator literary and directs the "Taiwan Fiction" collection at L'Asiathèque.
Coraline Jortay holds a doctorate in Chinese literature at the Université libre de Bruxelles, where she defended a thesis on gender representations and identity construction among Chinese-speaking authors of the twentieth century. Also a literary translator, she won the 2nd and 3rd prizes of the 2013 China International Translation Competition with the short stories “Up”, by Wang Xiangfu, and “The Letter”, by Liu Qingbang, published in the collection Tranchant de moon and other contemporary news from China (Ming Books, 2016). She has also translated Walis Nokan's collection Les paths des rêve et autres microfictions (L’Asiathèque, 2018).
Damien Ligot is a teacher of Chinese at Lycée Saint-Denis d´Annonay and a translator from Chinese to French. He obtained a Master 2 in Language, Literature and Civilization - Chinese, at the University of Lyon Jean Moulin (Lyon 3) and a Doctorate in Studies of Asia and its Diasporas at the same university.
He notably translated:
Lay Chih-ying, « la libellule rouge », in the serie of short novels Formosana - Histoire de démocratie à Taiwan, L'Asiathèque, 2021
Chang Wan-k’ang, « Vidéoman », in the serie of short novels Taipei - Histoires au coin de la rue, L’Asiathèque, 2017
Ping Lu, « Virtual Taiwan », dans le numéro Spécial Taiwan, Editions Jentayu, 2016
Lucie Modde is a freelance translator (English and Chinese -> French) since November 2014. Graduated from the professional master's degree in editorial, economic and technical translation (French, Chinese, English) at ESIT, she also followed the literary translation training at the ETL (Paris).
She notably translated:
Chou Fen-ling, « La nuit du repli », in the serie of short novels Formosana - Histoire de démocratie à Taiwan, L'Asiathèque, 2021
Huang Chong-kai, « Un cabiaï », in the serie of short novels Formosana - Histoire de démocratie à Taiwan, L'Asiathèque, 2021
Huang Chong-kai, Encore plus loin que Pluton, L'Asiathèque, 2018
Lao Ma, Tout ça va changer, Philippe Picquier, 2015 Wang Ting-kuo, « La faille », Hors-série n°1, Jentayu, 2016
Mia Yun, Les âmes des enfants endormis, Denoël, 2017 Huang Bei et Philippe Postel (dir.), Lectures chinoises de Victor Segalen, Honoré Champion éditeur, 2017
Tsai Suh-fen, « Le pêcheur », Nouvelles de Taiwan, Magellan & Cie, 2018
Lucie Modde received the 2016 Pierre-François Caillé Prize for Translation for the novel Tout ça va changer.
Preface: "La littérature comme outil d'analyse politique" ("Literature as a tool for political analysis") by Stéphane Corcuff
Chronology of Taiwan by Gwennaël Gaffric
1. "C'est la faute de la statue" ("It's the statue's fault") by Walis Nokan, translated by Coraline Jortay - An elementary school janitor denounces children not having greeted the statue of Chiang Kai-shek. The two pupils - Atayal natives - have a hard time understanding what they are being criticized for.
2. "Libellule rouge" ("Red Dragonfly") by Lay Chih-ying, translated by Damien Ligot - As White Terror has descended on Taiwan, a young medical student remembers, dissecting his cousin's corpse, the tragedies passed through.
3. "Fleurs dans la fumée" ("Flowers in the smoke") by Yang Chao, translated by Stéphane Corcuff - A Continental who lost his wife in the riots of February 28, 1947 meets a young Taiwanese woman who lost her father during the White Terror and commits to peril of his life in resistance to the authoritarianism of power.
4. "Mon frère le déserteur" ("My brother the deserter") by Wuhe, translated by Emmanuelle Péchenart - The account of the repeated desertions of a young conscript given by his brother, who takes him as a model.
5. "1987, une fiction" ("1987, a fiction") by Lai Hsiang-yin, translated by Matthieu Kolatte - A university student attends a literary camp and at the same time witnesses the upheavals of society.
6. "Les Titi " ("The Titi") by Chen Yu-hsuan, translated by Emmanuelle Péchenart - A worker in a textile factory ends up leaving her comrades, enslaved to their "sewing animals" and depersonalized by their work.
7. "La nuit du repli" ("The night of the withdrawal") by Chou Fen-ling, translated by Lucie Modde - One of the few fiction stories that deals with the Sunflower movement. The author points to the incomprehension that exists between the different generations in Taiwan.
8. "Un cabiaï" ("A capybara") by Huang Chong-kai, translated by Lucie Modde - While China and Taiwan have gone to war, the narrator takes advantage of the panic to steal a cabiaï from the zoo. While raising the animal, he wonders how Taiwan is in danger of disappearing.
9. "L'homme aux yeux à facettes" ("The Man with the Compound Eyes") by Wu Ming-yi, translated by Gwennaël Gaffric - A young man meets, in a natural park, a person with a strange look, who talks to him about seeing the world as does a butterfly. Story of an awareness of respect for other species and questioning of the concept of "commons".
Afterword: "Démocratie made in Formose" ("Democracy made in Formosa") by Gwennaël Gaffric