Resonance from far away: Self-position in two Frida Kahlos and Exorcism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Taiwan’s travel writers have run the gamut of narrative themes and forms, metaphorically addressing the interplay between space and mood. Writers tend to weave novel storylines into their travel writings, creating an artistic effect that transcends the literary form itself via traveler movement and scenery change. In her book Two Frida Kahlos (2001), Taiwanese writer Shi Shuqing, amid a narrative of travel around Spain and Portugal, presents a dialogue with the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, in which the writer contemplates topics such as identity and writing. Taiwan and Mexico were greatly affected by proxy wars during the Age of Discovery, and both experienced colonization by Spain. After the Tiananmen Incident, Shi Shuqing responded to her anxieties over identity by removing herself from the familiar and taking leave of a repressive atmosphere; thus, Two Frida Kahlos is a dialogue between her home Taiwan and the away-from-home. Another one of her works, Exorcism (2005), finds form in notes on Italian tourist spots threaded into a novel, manifesting in an intersecting structure of fact and fiction. The characters in the book pursue youth and desires of days gone by, and by employing a meta-writing strategy the female author undergoes exorcism and self-actualization. Through the writings about her journeys abroad, Shi not only exchanges opinions and develops intimacy with the characters, she also reflects upon the unique histories and destinies of a nation’s people. Through two major aspects—Shi’s perspective from abroad and the writing strategies —this paper aims to analyze different narratives in the books, ranging from more serious issues like a nation’s history to a more personal experience of diaspora and the history of creation, so as to present the writing characteristic employed by the author.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-98
Number of pages30
JournalWenshan Review of Literature and Culture
Volume10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Diaspora
  • Exorcism
  • Identity
  • Travel novel
  • Two Frida Kahlos

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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