We generally believe that literature first circulates nationally and then scales up through translation and reception at an international level. In contrast, I argue that Taiwan literature first attained international acclaim through intermedial translation during the New Cinema period (1982–90) and was only then subsequently recognized nationally. These intermedial translations included not only adaptations of literature for film, but also collaborations between authors who acted as screenwriters and filmmakers. The films resulting from these collaborations repositioned Taiwan as a multilingual, multicultural and democratic nation. These shifts in media facilitated the circulation of these new narratives. Filmmakers could circumvent censorship at home and reach international audiences at Western film festivals. The international success ensured the wide circulation of these narratives in Taiwan.
I am grateful to Wiebke Sievers, Peggy Levitt, my anonymous reviewers, Christine S. Bellen, Michael Ka-Chi Cheuk, Tom Cunliffe, Elaine Chung, Yue Han, Ting-Ying Lin, Jacob Meister, and Emilie Yueh-Yu Yeh for their help in enabling the writing of this essay.
© jessica siu-yin yeung, 2020
- Cultural policy