'History is now' : Fiction's history and history's fiction in representations of Hong Kong’s story : a dissident view : 「此刻就是歷史」:小說歷史與歷史小說新近演繹的香港故事 - 各抒己見

Mike INGHAM, Christopher MATTISON

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


International perception of Hong Kong culture is mediated through its iconic status as freewheeling business and financial hub. In consequence, creativity that does not relate to entrepreneurship, especially creativity of a literary nature, has tended to be downplayed, often to the extent of being ignored or distorted in public and international consciousness. The city’s Anglophone literature, particularly that produced by visiting Western writers like James Clavell, Richard Mason and Paul Theroux, has dominated public perception to an excessive, arguably detrimental, extent, particularly in stereotyping Top Ten-type lists. Within the scope of the present article our aim is to redress the balance by discussing more recent Hong Kong output to include local as well as global aspects of literary production, both in original English and English translation. A true reflection of current Hong Kong writing can only be achieved by incorporating translations of its local Chinese (culturally Cantonese) literature in our overview. We focus our attention on prose fiction mainly, with some reference to non-fiction, especially essays, reflecting on Asia’s putative ‘World City’. Notwithstanding the rich output of poetry following the 1997 Handover, we argue that fiction and essay forms eloquently communicate the idiosyncrasies of our city’s cultural identity.

香港作為自由貿易和金融中心的標誌性形象是國際社會認識本地文化的途徑。結果是,那些與創業精神無關的創意,比如文學性質的創意,往往都易於被淡化,甚至在普羅大眾和國際社會的意識中遭到忽視和曲解。有關這個城市的英語文學,尤其是那些由到訪西方作家,如:James Clavell,Richard Mason 及 Paul Theroux 的製作,過於左右公眾的認知,甚至可能到了一種不利的程度。本文旨在糾正平衡,討論較新近的香港作品,當中包羅了英語原文及英語翻譯的本地及全球性文學創作。唯有概觀地結合本地中國文學(廣東文化)的翻譯,才能真正地反映出現行香港作品的真貌。我們會聚焦於散文小說,也會參考若干非小說類型,尤其是小品文,以反映出這個亞洲公認的「世界城市」的面貌。儘管 1997 回歸以後出現了大量詩作,但我們認為小說和小品文的類型已傳神達意地把我們這個城市文化認同的特質娓娓道來。
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Pages (from-to)214-230
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong
Early online date5 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Hong Kong history and transition
  • fiction and non-fiction
  • Anglophone writing
  • Chinese in translation
  • identity politics
  • dissidence
  • 香港的歷史與變遷
  • 小說與非小說
  • 英語寫作
  • 中文作品的翻譯
  • 身份認同 政治


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