Bildungsroman in Hong Kong Literature of the 1960s and 1970s: A Study of Leung Ping Kwan's Literary Work

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Abstract

As a result of the political instability of mainland China in the 1940s, millions of mainland Chinese fled to Hong Kong for shelter. In 1940, the population of Hong Kong was estimated at 1.86 million. It drastically increased to 2.06 million in 1950. At the end of the 1950s, the population had increased to 3,023,300. The millions of newcomers, Chinese from different provinces were crammed into a small piece of land. Major novels of the 1950s addressed the lives of these immigrants, such as Cao Juren’s (1900-72) The Hotel (1952), Lu Lun’s (1911-88) Poverty Lane (1952), and Zhao Zifan’s (1924-86) Struggle of Humanism (1953). The term “refugee literature” is used to describe the literature of this generation. I regard their journey from mainland China to Hong Kong as a journey of growth, and have examined the literature produced by these authors from the point of view of the Bildungsroman, as novels of formation. In this paper, I continue to study the Bildungsroman of Hong Kong literature during the 1960s and 1970s, with special attention on Leung Ping Kwan (pen name Yesi, 1949-). He is regarded as belonging to the first generation of local Hong Kong writers following the migrant generation of the 1950s. Yesi, and his generation of writers grew up and were educated in Hong Kong. Quite different from their previous generation, they could adapt to the colonial city, yet they also encountered their own difficulties. In what ways is the Bildungsroman of the 1960s and 1970s different from its predecessors? How do the respective authors try to build an identity of themselves while redefining the relationship of Hong Kong culture with mainland China and the West? This paper examines major stories from the two Cold War decades.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2013
Event5th REELC-ENCLS Congress: Island and Continents: (Re)constructions of Identity - Portugal, Funchal, Portugal
Duration: 26 Sep 201328 Sep 2013

Conference

Conference5th REELC-ENCLS Congress: Island and Continents: (Re)constructions of Identity
CountryPortugal
CityFunchal
Period26/09/1328/09/13
OtherREELC-ENCLS (European Network for Comparative Literary Studies)

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