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This is the Final project of Chi Zhang, Yifan Yang and Jiaqi Chen. This blog focuses on three most well-accepted Chinese women writers and their works and captures.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chiung Yao

Chiung Yao is Taiwan’s most famous writer of love stories. She is also a playwright and lyricist. Chiung Yao was drawn to literature at an early age, and her maiden work debuted in Shanghai when she was only nine. By sixteen she had already published over 200 articles, one of which, ‘Outside the Window’ (Chuangwai), established her fame. When she was barely twenty, Qiong accomplished her first novel, titled Many Enchanting Nights (Jidu xiyang hong), set during the Anti-Japanese War. Chiung Yao took up writing as a career after she failed her college entrance examinations. She finished a 200,000-word novel every four or five months.

All her novels, over forty in all, were published by Crown, her husband’s printing house. They include Romance in the Rain (Yanyu mengmeng), Misty Moon (Yue menglong, niao menglong) and My Heart in a Million Knots (Xin you qian qian jie).
Chiung Yao’s love stories have enjoyed wide readership, and were especially popular among young readers in the 1960s and 1970s in Taiwan and in the 1980s in China. There, Chiung Yao’s popularity continued even into the late 1990s due to the adaptation of her novels as TV series. Princess Pearl (Huanzhu gege) was particularly successful. It is a representation of life inside and outside a royal compound revolving around the story of two pairs of young lovers. Qiong’s depiction of the princess Little Sparrow, however, triggered controversy as many critics were appalled at the misguided valorization of an ‘uncouth ruffian’ as the courageous and righteous heroine.

Both her father and mother received a good education. She was born in Chengdu, the capital ofSichuan province. In 1949, along with her family, she moved to Taiwan, where she attended Taipei Municipal Zhong Shan Girls High School . At the age of 16, she published her first novel. During high school she had published over 200 articles. After graduation from high school and failure to enter college, she got married and became a housewife, and at the same time started her writing career. Her first novel, still often read today, isChuangwai ("Outside the Window").

Chiung Yao's romance novels were very well received in Taiwan when they were first published, and by the 1990s she was also one of the best-selling authors on the mainland. Her novels feature women who would go through years of intense psychological suffering for the sake of love, with male leads who are often weaker than the female protagonists. Oftentimes the novels are set in the early Republican era, when family dictums were feudalistic and chauvinistic. Princess Pearl is the first of her many novels which ended happily for her female protagonists.

However her romance novels have also been criticized for their melodramatic plotlines and extremely longwinded dialogues .

The absolute love is the most fascinating part of Chiung-Yao’s novels. There are as least two main characters who love each other absolutely without the vague and gray zone in love. I ever heard a joke which described Chiung-Yao’s novels in one sentence which is “She loves him and he loves her.” Unlike other novels, main characters, in the pen of Chiung-Yao, would not doubt their affection toward each other. However, there comes an obvious question that if there is no discredit in the novel, why people would twist their hearts after reading the novels. To create climaxes, Chiung-Yao does not resort to the inner emotions of characters’ affections; instead, she puts the obstacles into outer environment. For example, her first novel is about a story between a student and a Chinese teacher who is considered to carry the responsibility of express morality traditionally. In the end of this novel, they are forced to depart because of the pressure from public opinions. Though they can not be together, their love, which few people may dare to declare, is still innocent and noble.
Let’s take another instance. Huan-Chu Princess, published in accompanying with series in 2003, is popular from Mainland China to southern-east Asia. One of the impressive characters is the evil queen who tries her best to torture main characters by cruel ways, like using a needle to pierce into their nails and pouring salt water on their wounds. The image of outer oppression of the queen is a contrast to main characters’ absolute love. From above example, the absolute love encourages people’s desire for innocent and comforts readers that all the obstacles come from outer society instead of their own responsibilities. 

The other element in Chiung-Yao’s novel is the relationship in family. Main characters pursue their true love and the love from family at the same time. They are often alien to their own family and desire for the care of parents. In Huan-Chu Princess, the main character travels over mountains and valleys to find her father, besides, Chiung-Yao used to describe the harmony of family which character can not own. Because of the lack of family, characters will find another harbor for them to shelter, that is, love. In this way, the writer successfully combines the two elements into coherence. For example, in “How Many Times Does the Twilight Redden,” the writer links up youth’s love with their parents’ early affairs. By revealing the struggles between family and true love, the contents arouse the imagination of being suffered. 

The two main elements can reflect how people look forward to their life, one to love and one to their family. The next time we read her novels; we can perceive them in another way rather than view them as romantic cliché.

Further reading
Lang, Miriam (2003). ‘Taiwanese Romance: San Mao and Chiung Yao. In Joshua Mostow (ed.) and Kirk Denton (ed. China Section), Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literatures. New York: Columbia University Press, 515–19.
HU MINGRONGBaensch, Robert E. (2003). The Publishing Industry in China. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.
Feldman, Gayle (1986). ‘The Organization of Publishing in China’.
China Quarterly 102: 519–29.
Lynch, Daniel (1999). After the Propaganda State. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Neder, Christina (1999). Lesen in der VR China [Reading in the People’s Republic of China]. Hamburg: Institut für Asienkunde.
Nielsen, Inge (2000). ‘Modern Chinese literature Sells Out’. Tamkang Review 30.3 (Spring):89–110.
Hartford, Kathleen (2000). ‘Cyberspace with Chinese Characteristics’. Current History (September): 255–62.
Harwit, Eric and Clark, Duncan (2001). ‘Shaping the Internet in China: Evolution of Political Control over Network Infrastructure and Content’. Asian Survey 41.3:377–408.
Yang, Guobin (2003). ‘The Impact of the Internet on Civil Society in China: A Preliminary Assessment’. Journal of Contemporary China 12.36. Available at http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/Leaflets/CJCC.PDF

My Story (autobiography) 
Helpless nostalgia (prose)
Boat out of the window Binger
Xueke juicy autumn song
Galaxy arctic fox Chaosheng
Jian Jian wind waves
Six dreamsToday
Meihua Luo 
Ghost husband
Asked the setting sun Clouds
Fly Pik days
Mist Over Dream Lake 
Clover girlfriend


Sanmao  (March 26, 1943 - January 4, 1991), literally "three hairs" though it is not considered to have a meaning, was the pseudonym of the popular Taiwanese author Chen Ping . She adopted her pseudonym from the acclaimed caricaturist Zhang Leping's most famous work "Sanmao", which tells the story of a Shanghai street child named "Sanmao". In English she was also known as Echo, the first name she used in western European languages, based on the homonymous Greek nymph.

To the readers in mainland China ,“Sanmao”has been regarded as the “most legendary female
writer” with her charming personal character since the 80’s of the 20th Century. Her books(《 The Stories of the Sahara 》, 《 Gone With the Rainy Season 》, 《Plays hooky for Studies》, 〈Lonely Long-distance race〉, 〈Sob Camel》,《Back》, 《Straw Manpower Records》, 《Delivers You a Horse》) deal mainly with her own experiences studying and living abroad. They were extremely well-received in both Taiwan and the Mainland China, and they remain very popular. From 1976 to the time of her death in 1991, Sanmao published more than 20 books. She also translated the comic Mafalda from Spanish to Chinese.

nSanmao was born in Chongqing , China, and the whole family moved to Taiwan later. She is said to have read the Dream of the Red Chamber , a famous Chinese classic, at the age of five and a half years old. In elementary school, she read much literature. Throughout her education she had conflicts with her teachers, including an incident in which she said she wanted to be a garbage collector when she grew up, which her teacher said was unacceptable. During her second year of high school, she shut herself up due to a traumatic incident, and refused to go to school. Her father bought many books for her to read at home, allowed her to take piano lessons, and practice painting.

From 1965 to 1969, she studied philosophy in Taiwan, and it was during this period that she experienced her first love. Things didn't work out, so she planned to go as far away as possible, and ended up in Spain.
Between 1967 and 1970 she studied in Spain, and then in Germany, and later found work in a law library in the state of Illinois in the US. Eventually, she returned back to Taiwan and began working as a German teacher. Her fiance, a 45 year old German man, died of a heart attack, and she again left Taiwan and returned to Spain.

In 1974 she went to the Colonial Spanish Sahara desert  and married a Spanish man named Jose Maria Quero Y Ruiz , whom she met in Madrid 7 years before when she was a student. She writes that when she first met Jose in Spain she thought he was very handsome, but too young for her. Jose had been waiting for her since she had returned to Taiwan, although they had not been dating at the time.

In 1976 she published her first work, the fictionalized-autobiographical The Stories of the Sahara . With its immense success, her early writings were collected in a second book, published under the title Gone With the Rainy Season . Her writings continued to be published from that point on, and her experiences in the Sahara and the Canary Islands were published in several more books.

In 1979 her husband drowned while diving. In 1980 she returned to Taiwan, and in November of the same year, she traveled to Central and South America, on commission from Taiwanese publishers. These experiences were recorded in subsequent writings. From 1981 to 1984, she taught and lectured in a Taiwanese university. After this point, she decided to dedicate herself fully to writing.

Sanmao died in a hospital in Taipei, having hanged herself with a pair of silk stockings. This took place days after a cancer scare and losing the Hong Kong movie award for her script to the film Red Dust , a loss which she took poorly. Some fans, most notably Zhang Jingran, claimed her death was a murder. Her apparent suicide came as a shock to many of her readers and was accompanied by public expressions of grief throughout the Chinese-speaking world.

Main Works:

Plays hooky for Studies
Lonely Long-distance race
Sob Camel
Straw Manpower Records
Delivers You a Horse

The Sing-song Girl of Shanghai (Capture) By Eileen Chang

Chapter One:

Simplicity Zhao visits his uncle on Salt Melon Street, and Benevolence Hong makes a match at the Hall of Beauties
A young man was seen rushing over Lu Stone Bridge, which linked Shanghai's Chinese district to the foreign settlements. He was dressed in a golden brown box jacket of glossy Nanjing silk, under which was an off-white cotton archery gown.' Surprised by the busy scene, he bumped into a ricksha and fell smack on the ground, splashing mud all over himself. Scrambling quickly to his feet, he seized the ricksha puller, shouting and cursing wildly at him, deaf to remonstrance. A Chinese policeman in a dark blue cotton uniform came over to question him. "My name is Simplicity Zhao, and I'm bound for Salt Melon Street," said the young man. "But out of the blue came this blockhead who ran me over with a ricksha! Look at the mud on my jacket. He'll have to pay for it."
"You could have been more careful yourself. I shouldn't press the matter," the policeman said.
Simplicity Zhao grumbled on for a bit but finally had to loosen his grip on the ricksha man and watch him pad away. A crowd of spectators had gathered at the crossroads, talking and laughing. Simplicity Zhao tried to brush the dirt off his clothes, complaining in despair, "How can I go and see my uncle like this?"
Even the policeman couldn't help laughing. "Why don't you go over to the teahouse and get a towel to wipe yourself down?" Following his advice, Simplicity went to the Waterway Teahouse by the bridge, where he took a seat near the street and removed his jacket. A waiter brought him a basin of hot water and a towel. He wrung the towel dry and wiped his jacket carefully, until not a trace of mud was left. Then he put it back on, took a sip of tea, paid the bill, and headed straight for the central market on Salt Melon Street. Here he saw the signboard of the Flourishing Ginseng Store and ambled into its small walled courtyard, asking loudly for Mr. Benevolence Hong. A young salesclerk answered, invited him in, took his name, and hurried in to announce him.
Soon Benevolence Hong bustled out. Though Simplicity had not seen his uncle for a long time, he still remembered well the hollow cheeks and protuberant eyes. He quickly walked up to the man and greeted him on one knee. Benevolence Hong hastened to return the salutation and asked him to take the seat of honor, inquiring meanwhile, "How is your esteemed mother? Did she come with you? Where are you staying?"
"My humble quarters are at the Welcome Inn on Treasured Merit Street. Mother did not come but told me to pay you her respects, sir," Simplicity replied.
While they talked, the young clerk served tobacco and tea. Benev­olence Hong asked his nephew what had brought him to Shanghai.
"Nothing in particular," Simplicity said. "I'm hoping to find some employment."
"Just now, though, there aren't any good opportunities in Shang­hai," said Benevolence.
"Mother says I'm not getting any younger, and there's nothing for me to do at home, so it's better for me to go out into the world and learn to do business."
"There's certainly something in that. How old are you?" "Seventeen."
"You have an esteemed sister, too. I haven't seen her either for several years. How old is she? Is she betrothed yet?"
"Not yet. She's fifteen."
"Who else is there in your family?"
"Just the three of us and a maidservant."
"With so few people, your expenses are probably low."
"Even so, we also have to pinch and skimp much more than before."
There was a clock on a table carved from tree roots. As they talked, it struck twelve, whereupon Benevolence asked Simplicity to stay for a casual meal and summoned the clerk to give him the instructions. A little later, four plates of cold cuts, two main courses, and a jug of wine were brought in. Uncle and nephew sat facing each other, drinking and chatting about recent developments and how things were in the countryside.
"Are you staying alone at the inn? Isn't there anyone to look after you?" asked Benevolence.
"A friend of mine from a rice merchant's has also come to Shanghai to look for work. His name is Rustic Zhang, and he's staying with me." "That's all right then."
After lunch, they wiped their face with a towel and rinsed their mouths. Benevolence handed Simplicity a water pipe. "Do stay for a while. I'll go and finish a few small chores and then see you back to the inn."
Simplicity agreed politely, whereupon Benevolence hurriedly left the room.
Simplicity sat smoking the water pipe until he got good and tired of it. The clock had struck two by the time Benevolence came out. He summoned the clerk again to leave some instructions and then went with Simplicity to his room at the Welcome Inn.2 There was already a man in the room, lying there smoking opium. After a brief greeting, Benevolence asked, "Mr. Rustic Zhang, I presume?"
"At your service," said Rustic. "And you, Uncle, must be Mr. Be­nevolence Hong."
"You do me too great an honor to call me Uncle."
"I apologize for not having called on you to pay my respects." After this exchange of civilities, they sat down. Simplicity pro­duced a water pipe and offered it to Benevolence.
"This is my nephew's first visit to Shanghai. He is absolutely de­pendent on your great kindness," said Benevolence.
Rustic said, "Alas, I am all too aware of my own inadequacy. But since we came to town together, it's only natural that we should look out for each other."
After more courtesies, Benevolence passed him the water pipe. Taking it in one hand, Rustic gestured with his other hand toward the couch, inviting Benevolence to share a pipe of opium with him.3
"No, thanks," Benevolence declined, and they sat down again.
Sitting to one side, Simplicity listened to their conversation, which drifted gradually to the topic of courtesans. He was just about to slip in a question or two when Rustic passed him the water pipe, so he took the opportunity to whisper into the latter's ear.
"Ha!" Rustic turned to Benevolence. "My brother Simplicity says he'd like to take a look at the sing-song houses. Is that all right?"
"Where shall we go?" said Benevolence.
"Let's take a stroll along Chessboard Street," said Rustic.
"I remember there's a courtesan called Jewel at the Hall of Beauties on West Chessboard Street. She's not bad," said Benevolence. "Then let's go," Simplicity broke in.
Rustic grinned. Even Benevolence could not help smiling.
Simplicity told Rustic to put away his opium tray and then waited while he changed into a new outfit-a melon-ribbed cap, Beijing-style trimmed slippers, and a padded gown of shiny gray Hangzhou silk topped by a glossy box jacket of sapphire-blue Nanjing silk. Rustic then proceeded to fold up one by one all the clothes he had changed out of before he was finally ready to go. At the door, he and Benevolence each pressed the other to take the lead.
Impatiently, Simplicity pulled the door to, locked it, and fol­lowed them out. After turning a couple of street corners, they were on West Chessboard Street. Outside one of the doors, there was an iron stand with an octagonal glass lantern inscribed in vermilion with the words "The Hall of Beauties." Benevolence led the way in. The menservants knew him and shouted at once, "Mama Yeung, a friend of Young Mr. Zhuang."4 Somebody answered upstairs and came stumping to the head of the stairs to greet them.
The maid Mama Yeung watched as the three men came up and said, "Oh, it's Young Mr. Hong. Please come in and take a seat." A servant girl of thirteen or fourteen had propped up the bamboo curtain with a stick to let them through. There was already a man in the room. He was lying on the couch, his arms round a courtesan, cuddling with her. Only when Benevolence walked in did he get up to greet the newcomers, cupping his hands palm over fist to salute Rustic and Simplicity and asking for their family names. Benevo­lence answered for them and turned toward Rustic, saying, "This is Mr. Lichee Zhuang."
"Honored," Rustic murmured.
The courtesan hid behind Lichee Zhuang, waiting till everyone had taken their seats before she came up to offer them watermelon seeds. The servant girl also brought water pipes and filled them for the clients.
"I was just going to look for you," Lichee Zhuang said to Benevolence Hong. "I've got a lot of stuff here. See if anyone can help dis­pose of them." He fished a folder out of his pocket and handed it to Benevolence. Benevolence saw that on the list were items of jewelry, curios, paintings, calligraphy, and clothes, all numbered and with prices written next to them.
"This sort of thing . . . " Benevolence said, frowning. "Well, they're hard to sell. I heard Script Li of Hangzhou is here. D'you want to try him?"
"I've told Cloudlet Chen to take this to Li. There's been no news yet." "Where's all the stuff?"
"Right here, over at Longevity Bookstore. Would you care to go and take a look?"
"What's the point? I don't know the first thing about this kind of stuff."
Simplicity, impatient with their conversation, turned to give the courtesan a good looking-over. She had a very fair round face and regular and exquisite features. Loveliest of all were her smiling lips-so small they formed a vermilion dot-and her mercurial eyes oozed tenderness. Since she was at home, she was dressed casually and for ornament wore only a silver filigree butterfly in her hair. Her cot­ton blouse was the color of dawn's first light, set off by a sleeveless jacket of black crinkled crepe with satin pipings and pink crinkled crepe trousers trimmed with off-white satin and three bands of em­broidered lace.
She felt Simplicity's gaze and, smiling, walked to the big foreign mirror against the wall and studied herself from all angles, smooth­ing her sidelocks. Entranced, he followed her with his eyes. Sud­denly he heard Benevolence Hong call out, "Miss Woodsy, shall I make a match for your little sister Jewel?" Only then did he realize that this courtesan was Woodsy Lu, not Jewel.
He saw her turn around and answer, "Why not? You'd be doing my sister a good turn." She shouted for Mama Yeung, who hap­pened to come in at that very moment to offer them towels and more tea. She told her to summon Jewel and add more teacups.]
"Which is the gentleman?" Mama Yeung asked.
"Young Mr. Zhao." Benevolence Hong pointed to Simplicity.
Mama Yeung eyed him sideways. "Oh, so this is Young Mr. Zhao? I'll get Jewel." She took the towels and ran out, thump, thump, thump.
Not long afterward came the sound of bound feet, creakety creak all the way.6 That must be Jewel coming. Simplicity Zhao had his eyes on the door curtain and saw her walk in, pick up the plate of watermelon seeds, and pass it around, first to "Young Mr. Zhuang" and then to "Young Mr. Hong." When she got to Rustic and Sim­plicity, she asked for their names and gave Simplicity a little smile. He saw that she, too, had a small round face, exactly like Woodsy's. She was younger and not as tall, but if they were not seen together it would be quite impossible to tell them apart.
Jewel put down the plate and seated herself shoulder to shoul­der with Simplicity, which embarrassed him a little. He didn't know whether to remain seated or walk away. Fortunately, Mama Yeung came hurrying in again. "Young Mr. Zhao, please come this way."
"Everybody, please come over together," said Jewel.
At this, they all stood up, inviting each other to take the lead.
"I'll lead the way," Lichee Zhuang said. He was about to walk ahead when Woodsy grabbed him by the sleeve. "You stay here. Let them go."
Benevolence Hong looked over his shoulder with a smile and, togeth­er with Rustic and Simplicity, followed Mama Yeung into Jewel's room. It was right next door to Woodsy's and was similarly furnished, with a dressing mirror, a clock, golden hanging scrolls, and colorfully painted silk lanterns. They sat around casually as Mama Yeung bustled about adding teacups and summoned the servant girl to fill the water pipes. Then a manservant brought in a plate of nuts and sweetmeats, which Jewel offered to everyone before sitting down next to Simplicity again.
"Where is Young Mr. Zhao' s residence?" asked Mama Yeung, who was standing next to Benevolence.
"He is staying at the Welcome Inn with Young Mr. Zhang."
"Has Young Mr. Zhang got a girl?" Mama Yeung turned to Rus­tic, who smiled and shook his head. "He hasn't? Then we must fix him up with one, too," she said.
"Fix me up with a girl? How about you?" said Rustic, at which everybody roared with laughter.
Mama Yeung laughed and continued, "Wouldn't it be more fun if you got yourself fixed up and came and visited together with Young Mr. Zhao?"
With a sardonic laugh, Rustic went and lay down on the couch to smoke.
"Come, Young Mr. Zhao, you be the matchmaker," Mama Yeung turned to Simplicity.
Simplicity, busy fooling around with Jewel, pretended not to hear.
Jewel snatched her hand away from his. "Hey, you're to be the matchmaker. Say something!"
He still did not speak.
"Go on, say something," she urged.
Hard pressed, he glanced at Rustic and made to address him, but Rustic ignored him and went on smoking.
Simplicity was saved from his embarrassment by Lichee Zhuang, who had just come in through the door curtain. He took the op­portunity to stand up and invite Zhuang to take a seat. Mama Yeung, seeing that there was nothing doing, went out with the servant girl.
Lichee Zhuang sat down opposite Benevolence and talked about things in the business world. Rustic was still lying on the couch, smoking. Jewel held Simplicity's hands tightly in her own and for­bade him to move. She would only chat with him, one minute saying she wanted to go to the theater, the next that she wanted a drinking party. Simplicity just grinned. She went so far as to draw up her feet and roll into his arms. But when he stuck a hand up her sleeve, she held her bosom tight and cried out desperately, "Stop it!"
Rustic had just finished smoking a couple of pellets of opium. "You should pass up the dumplings and go for the buns!" he said smiling.
Simplicity did not understand. "What did you say?"
Jewel set her feet down quickly and tugged at him. "Don't listen to him. He's making fun of you." She glared at Rustic and pulled the corners of her mouth down. "You won't get yourself a girl, but when it comes to wagging your tongue, you're tops, right?"
This dampened Rustic's spirits. He got up sheepishly to look at the clock.
Sensing that Rustic wanted to go, Benevolence Hong also stood up. "Let's go and have dinner."
On hearing this, Simplicity hastily fished out a silver dollar and tossed it into the candy dish. Jewel said, "Do stay a little longer," and then called out to Woodsy, "Elder Sister, they're leaving."
Woodsy hurried over and said something to Lichee Zhuang in a low voice. Then she and Jewel saw the men out to the staircase land­ing, both saying, "Come together again soon." The four men made affirmative noises as they walked down the stairs.

Days and Nights of China by Eileen Chang

IN THE DAYS BETWEEN AUTUMN and winter last year, I went every day to buy vegetables. Twice, I was able to write a poem on the way to market, which left me both surprised and delighted. The first came when I saw the leaves falling from a French plane tree. One of the leaves fell very very slowly, holding its strangely graceful pose all the way down to the ground. I stood still to watch, but before it had touched down, I moved on so that I wouldn't seem to be staring blankly in the same place for so long. As I walked away, I turned back for one final glance. Afterward, I wrote this:
The big yellow leaf tumbles down
slowly, passing by the breeze
by the pale green sky
by the knifelike rays of the sun
and the dusty dreams of yellow-gray apartment buildings. As it falls toward the middle of the road
you can see that it means to kiss
its own shadow.
Its shadow on the ground
reaches out in welcome, reaches out
 and seems also to drift to the side. The leaf moves as slowly as can be, feigning a middle-aged nonchalance, but as soon as it hits the ground
a hand baked gold by the season carefully palms its little black shadow as if catching a cricket:
"Oh, here you are!"
In the autumn sun
on the cement ground
they sleep quietly together
the leaf and its love.
Another time, I went to the vegetable market when it was already winter-time. The sun was dazzlingly bright, but there was a damp, clean smell in the air like freshly washed laundry hanging in a neat array from a bamboo pole. The colors and patterns of the padded cotton gowns of two children wobbling somewhere around my feet had a certain similarity: one was the color of salted vegetables, the other of soy pickles, and both were covered with a deep, dark oily stain formed of innumerable smaller stains across the front, resembling the proverbial embroidered sack in which Guan Gong, the god of war, keeps his beard below his chin. There was another child, cradled in someone's arms, clad in a peach-red fake serge padded gown. That precious splash of color was cradled between the accumulated dirt and grime of a whole winter and seemed all the more poignant because of the filth, like a lotus blossom rising above the muck. As for the blue of blue cotton cloth: that is our national color. Most of the blue cotton shirts you see people wearing on the streets have been mended so many times that they are a patchwork of light and shade, as if they had all been rinsed by t6e rain, leaving an eye-opening bluish green. Our China has always been a nation of patches. Even our sky was patched together by the goddess Nüwa.
A tangerine seller puts down his carrying baskets to take a rest on the side of the road, his arms crossed in front of him as he leisurely watches the passing sights, the whites of his eyes clearly outlined by the contours of his flat, round face. But, in the split second after I pass by, he lifts his head abruptly, his lips split into a gigantic circle, and his chant seems to reach for the skies: "Two for a hundred silver dollars! Two for a hundred silver dollars! Come on, fellows! I'm practically giving them away!" I often hear his song from upstairs, and yet I'm still startled out of my wits, for how could it be coming from this man? The sound is so huge, and yet just seconds earlier
he was standing and gazing quietly at the world around him. Now, he's holding his head up at an angle, his face beaming roundly like a full moon as he shouts merrily to the street, just like the Chinese in Sapajou's cartoons.1 The Chinese in foreigners' cartoons are always carefree, crafty, and lovably capable of laughing off the bitterness of their lives, so much so that it almost seems a pleasure to be swindled out of a couple extra dollars by them. And when you think about it, the delightful atmosphere of such cartoons is quite heartbreaking.
There is a Taoist monk who walks the streets begging for alms, clad in a great adept's cloak made of faded black cloth. His hair is worn in a little gray coil on the crown of his head, not unlike the massed curls of a stylish modern woman. With his squinty eyes and hair pulled back across his temples, his sallow face has something of the look of an embittered woman who's fallen on hard times. It is difficult to tell how old he might he, but because of malnutrition, his body is tall and gaunt, seemingly stuck forever in the lanky frame of a seventeen- or eighteen-year-old. He holds a length of bam-boo at an angle, beating out a slow rhythm with a mallet: "Tock . . . tock . . . tock." This, too, is a kind of clock, but one that measures a different sort of time: the time of sunlight slanting inch by inch across a lonely and ancient temple in the mountains. Time is like space: there are areas that are worth money as well as vast stretches of wasteland. Don't tell me that "time is worth more than gold." There are those who would sell their entire lives for a bowl of rice and find no takers. (They would even sell their next life, if they could, in the form of their children's and grandchildren's prospects for the future.) This Taoist monk has brought their worthless spare time into the high-speed bustle of the metropolis. Around him is a riotous profusion of advertisements, store fronts, the honking of automobile horns. He is the fabled dreamer of the dream of yellow millet, but he has awoken from his nap without actually having had the dream-and feels an altogether different kind of emptiness.2 The Taoist walks over to the door of a hardware store and prostrates himself, but naturally they have nothing to give him, so he merely makes a kowtow to no one in particular. Having clambered back
1 Sapajou (the pen name of Georgii Avksent'ievich Sapojnikoff) was a White Russian refugee who served as a cartoonist for the North China Daily News in Shanghai from the late 1920s until the 1940s.
2A Taoist parable in which a man lives an entire lifetime—brimming with intrigue, romance, worldly success, and failure-only to find upon awaking that it was all merely a dream, whose decades corresponded in the mortal world to the time it takes to cook a pot of yellow millet porridge.
 up to his feet, the "tock . . tack. . . tack' resumes, and he crosses over to the cigarette stand next door and once again "makes obeisance to the earthly dust," kowtowing crookedly, his movements like the slow ooze of black water or the lazy bloom of a black chrysanthemum flower. To watch him is to feel that the dust of this world is piling ever higher, to know that not only will hopes turn to ash but anything and everything one touches will ultimately crumble to nothingness. I am rather carried away by this sentiment until I realize that if I continue to follow in his wake, he might ask me for alms as well. And with that, I hurry away.
The shopping basket of a servant woman coming back from market is full of coils of silver vermicelli noodles, like the unkempt hair of an old woman. There is another woman contentedly holding a crimson-lacquered tray piled with "longevity noodles" that are ingeniously folded into different layers, each suspended above the other. The bundle of noodles at the top is tied at the end with a peach-red strip of paper, like the red ribbon at the end of a little girl's ponytail. The pale rice-colored tresses dangle below, each strand as thick as a little snake.
Then there is the young girl who walks past holding a lidded wok. The handles on either side of the wok are threaded with blue cloth so that it is easier to carry. The indigo-colored strips of cloth look dirty but somehow make you feel that she shares an intimate bond with the wok, that "the heart connects to the hands, and the hands connect to the heart."
The hands of the apprentice in the butcher shop are swollen with cold. If your glance darts toward him as he noisily minces meat with a cleaver, it looks like he's chopping his own red, swollen fingers. A woman stands outside the counter, a prostitute who's no longer young, perhaps a madam in her own right or just doing business with a few other ladies of the same type. She still perms her hair, which sweeps behind her ears in a puffy cloud. Her face bears the traces of her former beauty, without scar or blemish, but still looks somehow pitted and uneven, and a little hesitant. She has a gold tooth, a black silk gown with rolled-up sleeves, and the loose threads of the worn sheepskin on the sleeves cling together in little petals of cloth, like white "maiden crab" chrysanthemums. She asks for a half pound of pork, but the apprentice busies himself with his mincing, and it is unclear whether he simply didn't hear what she said or is deliberately ignoring her. An uncertain smile moves across her face, and she stands outside the entrance, lifting her hands to straighten the tassels on her sleeves, revealing two golden rings and the bright red polish on her nails.
The proprietress of the butcher shop sits at a card table and lectures a relative just up from the countryside on the misdeeds of her sister-in-law. Her
 hands are folded into her pockets and her too-tight cotton-padded gown and blue cotton dust apron seem to tie her body up in knots, against which she struggles mightily, stretching her neck forward, her jaundiced eyes widening with the strain. And yet this is the kind of young woman that the local newspapers would refer to as a "young woman of not inconsiderable charm": "Well, you might think that what belongs to her brother belongs to her as well and that his house is hers, too. And that might have been true before, but not anymore." Her tone is neither one of accusation nor of reproach, and her eyes hardly seem to register the presence of her relative. She speaks with a contempt as deep as the sea, and her eyes stare blankly into the distance, as if she were gazing across the ocean. Again and again, she raises her voice and lets out a shout, like spitting into the ocean and knowing full well the pointlessness of the gesture. The relative, a long-stemmed water pipe dangling from his mouth, clad in a Chinese-style short jacket and trousers, and resting one foot on a wooden bench, consoles her: "All of that should go without saying. It's not worth talking about." But she continues bitterly, "She even went and sold those two pork hides her brother had saved." She raises her face to point to the wall behind them. High up on the partition, a few hooks have been driven into the wooden planks, but now there is only a blue cloth apron hanging from the wall.
At the store next door, Shanghainese shenqu songs pour volubly from the wireless, also deliberating endlessly on the long and short of various family affairs. First, a woman speaks her piece, and then a man immediately chimes in with a loud and liquid aria of his own: "A man of my years isn't getting any younger. . . . If some untoward event should send me to the netherworld, who will be there to see me on my way?" I love to listen, my ears like fish in water, swimming in the music of his words. Turning the corner, the street suddenly becomes bleak. There is a red wall directly ahead, bricks painted in large clumsy white characters edged in blue with the name of an elementary school. Inside the campus grows a profusion of tall and desolate white trees. The gleaming white sky behind them turns the slightly slanted trunks a pale green. The radio is still playing shenqu, but the lyrics are no longer audible. I remember the lyrics from the beginning of a song cycle that I once read in a songbook: "With the first drum beat from the watchtower, the world falls quiet. . . . The tower is dark when the second watch sounds. . . . At the third watch, the tower is even more desolate. . . ." The tone of the first line is imposingly grand, and I am very fond of the majestic images it calls to mind: of the China that has come down to us from the empires of the Han and Tang, of cities lit by a multitude of lamps slowly falling quiet with the sound of a drum.
 I am holding a mesh shopping bag full of cans and bottles. There are two covered ceramic bowls full of tofu and soybean paste that need to be held upright, and a big bundle of cabbage hearts that needs to be kept at an angle so that it doesn't crush the eggs underneath. In short, I can proceed only with the greatest of difficulty. Although the rays of the winter sun are weak, it is noon, and I have walked quite a distance in the sun, so that its beams are like bees buzzing unrelentingly overhead, which makes me break into an itchy sort of sweat. I am truly happy to be walking underneath a Chinese sun. And I like feeling that my hands and legs are young and strong. And all this seems to be connected together, but I don't know why. In these happy moments-the sound of the wireless, the colors of the streets-a portion of all this seems to belong to me, even if what sinks sadly to the ground is also Chinese silt. At bottom, this is China after all.
When I get home, even before I have had a chance to pile the groceries in the kitchen, I sit down at the desk. Never before have I written anything so quickly; even I'm a bit shocked. After some revision, what I have is this:
My road passes
across the land of my country.
Everywhere the chaos of my own people;
patched and patched once more, joined and joined again, a people of patched and colored clouds.
My people,
my youth.
I am truly happy to bask in the sun back from market,
weighed down by my three meals for the day.
The first drumbeats from the watchtower settle all under heaven, quieting the hearts of the people;
the uneasy clamor of voices begins to sink,
sink to the bottom . 
China, after all.

Love By Eileen Chang

There was once a daughter of a tolerably well-off family in the country who was very lovely and sought out by many matchmakers, although nothing had come of their efforts. That year, she was only fifteen or sixteen years old. One spring evening, she stood by the back door, hands resting on a peach tree. She remembered that she was wearing a moon-white tunic. She had seen the young man who lived across the way, but they had never spoken. He walked toward her, came to a halt close by, and said softly: "So you're here, too?" She did not say anything, and he did not say more. They stood for a moment and then went their separate ways.
That was all.
Later, the girl was abducted by a swindler in the family and sold as a concubine in some far-off town, then sold several times more, passing through any number of trials and ordeals. When she was old, she still remembered that incident and often spoke of that evening in spring, the peach tree by the back door, that young man.
When you meet the one among the millions, when amid millions of years, across the borderless wastes of time, you happen to catch him or her, neither a step too early nor a step too late, what else is there to do except to ask softly: "So you're here, too?"

Little Biography Of Eileen Chang

Eileen Chang was born in Shanghai on September 30, 1920 to a renowned family. Her paternal grandfather was a son-in-law to Li Hongzhang, an influential Qing court official. Her family moved to Tianjin in 1922, where she started school at the age of four. When she was five, her birth mother left for Britain after her father took in a concubine and grew addicted to opium. Although she did return four years later, following his promise to quit the drug and split with the concubine, a divorce could not be averted. Chang's unhappy childhood in the broken family probably gave her later works their pessimistic overtone.
Chang was renamed Eileen in preparation for her entry into the Saint Maria Girls' School. During her secondary education, she was already deemed a genius in literature. Her writings were published in the school magazine. In 1939, she was accepted into the University of Hong Kong to study literature. She also received a scholarship to study in the University of London, though the opportunity had to be given up when Hong Kong fell to the Japanese in 1941. Chang then returned to Shanghai. Living in Japanese-occupied Shanghai she wrote many popular pieces published in mass-circulation magazines, but her remarkable use of language meant that she was also taken seriously as a writer. She fed herself with what she was best at - writing. It was during this period when some of her most acclaimed works were penned and the Chang Legend began with the publication of her first short story in Shanghai in 1942.
Chang met her first husband in 1943 and married him in the following year. She loved him dearly, despite him being already married as well as labeled a traitor to the Japanese. When Japan was defeated in 1945, her husband escaped to Wenzhou, where he fell in love with yet another woman. When Chang traced him to his refuge, she realized she could not salvage the marriage. They were finally divorced in 1947.
However, the Communists' takeover of China in 1949 cut short Chang's run of stardom, for with a much publicized prestigious family background, Chang knew that she would become a conspicuous target for Communist persecution. Foreseeing political trouble, she escaped to Hong Kong in 1952 and worked as a translator for the American News Agency for three years. She then left for the United States in the fall of 1955, never to return to Chinese mainland again. The Rice Sprout Song, the first book published after her immigration, probes the ironies of life under the Communists. Her inspiration for the novel is a newspaper article about a party member who finds him questioning orders to shoot peasants who are raiding a granary during a famine.
In New York, Chang met her second husband, an American scriptwriter, whom she married in August 1956. He died in 1967. After his death, she held short-term jobs at Radcliffe College and UC Berkeley. She relocated to Los Angeles in 1973. Two years later, she completed the English translation of a celebrated Qing novel written in the Wu dialect. On September 8, 1995, she was found dead in her apartment. According to her will, she was cremated without any open funeral and her ashes were released to the Pacific Ocean.
Chang is no doubt the most talented woman writer in the 20th century China. Over the last century few writers have had as much influence on the development of modern Chinese literature in Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan as her. Her obsession with privacy made her known as the "Garbo of Chinese letters", and photographs reveal a woman whose elegance and contemplative introspection justify that title. Written on Water, first published in 1945, showcases why, more than half a century after she first won fame in Shanghai, Chang still enjoys an enormous popularity among readers, both in China and overseas. She offers essays on art, literature, war, and urban life, as well as autobiographical reflections. She takes in the sights and sounds of wartime Shanghai and Hong Kong, with the tremors of national upheaval and the drone of warplanes in the background, and inventively fuses explorations of urban life, literary trends, domestic habits, and historic events. Her stylized depictions of Chinese manners and morals, her witty inquiry into urban trivia, and her "celebration" of historical contingency are a tableau vivant of modern Chinese lives at their most complex and fascinating. She captures the subtleties of the urban experience, pointedly from a woman's perspective, and the trivialities of daily endeavors during the Japanese occupation, with humor and insight. Her self-effacing, mannered prose and power for observing visual designs and social manners shine when she writes of fashion, the family, her past, and film and drama.
With a distinctive style that is at once meditative, vibrant, and humorous, Chang engages the reader through sly, ironic humor; an occasionally chatty tone; and an intense fascination with the subtleties of modern urban life. Her works vividly capture the sights and sounds of Shanghai, a city defined by its mix of tradition and modernity. She explores the city's food, fashions, shops, cultural life, and social mores; she reveals and upends prevalent attitudes toward women and in the process presents a portrait of a liberated, cosmopolitan woman, enjoying the opportunities, freedoms, and pleasures offered by urban life. In addition to her descriptions of daily life, she also reflects on a variety of artistic and literary issues, including contemporary films, the aims of the writer, the popularity of the Peking Opera, dance, and painting.
Her works frequently deal with the tensions between men and women in love. Her writing is very detailed. She used a lot of adjectives and idioms in describing some subtle and complex plots and characters of the story. Compared to other writers, she is very distinct when describing the characters, setting the details out quite strongly and giving the reader a good sense about who they are. The conversations that she creates between characters really show her skills as an outstanding writer because of how realistic they are. None of the dialogues seem to be unnatural or unbelievable.
Chang is a talented storyteller, which is clearly shown on how skillful she unfolds a story of a love between a widow and a playboy, ending in a marriage unpredictable to most of its readers. The perspectives that are used are first person and third person narratives. Shortly after these dialogues, she sometimes used her own narration to provide more objective views.

Eileen Chang

(September 30, 1920 1995) was a Chinese writer. She had also used the pseudonym Liang Jing, which is almost unknown. Her works frequently deal with the tensions between men and women in love, and are considered by some scholars to be among the best Chinese literature of the period. Chang's work describing life in 1940s Shanghai and occupied Hong Kong is remarkable in its focus on everyday life and the absence of the political subtext which characterized many other writers of the period.

Early life
Born in Shanghai on September 30, 1920, to a renowned family, Eileen Chang's paternal grandfather Zhang Peilun was a son-in-law to Li Hongzhang, an influential Qing court official. Chang was named Zhang Ying at birth. Her family moved to Tianjin in 1922, where she started school at the age of four.
When Chang was five, her birth mother went to the United Kingdom after her father took in a concubine. Chang's father became addicted to opium. Although Chang's mother did return four years later, following her husband's promise to quit the drug and split with the concubine, a divorce could not be averted. Chang's unhappy childhood in the broken family probably gave her later works their pessimistic overtone.
The family moved back to Shanghai in 1928. She started to read Dream of the Red Chamber. Two years later, Chang was renamed Eileen (her Chinese first name, Ailing, was actually a transliteration of Eileen) in preparation for her entry into the Saint Maria Girls' School and her parents divorced. In 1932, she wrote her debut short novel.
During her secondary education, Chang was already deemed a genius in literature. Her writings were published in the school magazine. In 1939, she was accepted into the University of Hong Kong to study Literature. She also received a scholarship to study in the University of London, though the opportunity had to be given up due to the ongoing Pacific War. Hong Kong fell to the Empire of Japan on December 25, 1941. The Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong would last until 1945.
Chang had left occupied Hong Kong for her native Shanghai. She fed herself with what she was best at - writing. It was during this period when some of her most acclaimed works, including Qing Cheng Zhi Lian and Jin Suo Ji, were penned.

First marriage
Chang met her first husband Hu Lancheng in 1943 and married him in the following year. She loved him dearly, despite his being already married as well as labeled a traitor for collaborating with the Japanese. When Japan was defeated in 1945, Hu escaped to Wenzhou, where he fell in love with yet another woman. When Chang traced him to his refuge, she realized she could not salvage the marriage. They finally divorced in 1947.

Life in the United States
In 1952, Chang migrated back to Hong Kong, where she worked as a translator for the American News Agency for three years. She then left for the United States in the fall of 1955, never to return to Mainland China again.

Second Marriage
In New York, Chang met her second husband, the American scriptwriter Ferdinand Reyer, whom she married in August 1956. Reyer was paralyzed after he was hit by strokes in 1961, while Chang was on a trip to Taiwan, and eventually died in 1967. After Reyer's death, Chang held short-term jobs at Radcliffe College and UC Berkeley.

Translation Work
Chang relocated to Los Angeles in 1973. Two years later, she completed the English translation of The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai, a celebrated Qing novel in the Wu dialect by Han Bangqing (1856-1894). She became increasingly reclusive in her later years.

Chang was found dead in her apartment on September 8, 1995, by her Iranian-American landlord. Her death certificate states the immediate cause of her death to be Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD). According to her will, she was cremated without any open funeral and her ashes were released to the Pacific Ocean.

Works in English Translation
Love in a Fallen City (published in October 2006 by New York Review Books) Translated by Karen Kingsbury and Eileen Chang. ISBN 1-59017-178-0
“The Golden Cangue" is found in Modern Chinese Stories and Novellas, 1919-1949 (ed. Joseph S M Lau et al.) HC ISBN 0-231-04202-7 PB ISBN 0-231-04203-5
Naked Earth Hong Kong: Union Press, 1956.
The Rice Sprout Song: a Novel of Modern China HC ISBN 0-520-21437-4, PB ISBN 0-520-21088-3
The Rouge of the North HC ISBN 0-520-21438-2 PB 0520210875
Traces of Love and Other Stories PB ISBN 962-7255-22-X
The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai (Eileen Chang's tr. of Han Bangqing's novel) ISBN 0-231-12268-3
Written on Water ISBN 0-231-13138-0

Chang's main works put on screen include:
Tao Hua Yun (1959) ("The Wayward Husband")
Liu Yue Xin Niang (1960) ("The June Bride")
Xiao Er Nu (1963) ("Father takes a Bride")
Qing Cheng Zhi Lian (1984) (Love in a Fallen City)
Hong Meigui Yu Bai Meigui (1994) (The Red Rose and the White Rose)
Ban Sheng Yuan (1997) (Yuan of Half a Life, also known as Eighteen Springs)
Jin Suo Ji (The Golden Cangue)