Tales out of school: Campus fiction from Taiwan

Mary Goodwin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter traces a historical line through Taiwan fiction that depicts intimate relationships between teachers and students, through two popular Chinese-language novels, Chiung Yao’s Outside the Window (1963), and Lin Yi-han’s Fang Si-Qi’s First Love Paradise (2017), as well as two English-language novels set in Taiwan, Under the Phoenix Tree (1991) by Catherine Dai and Lessons in Essence (2006) by Dana Standridge. All four novels focus on the emotional stresses experienced by young female students dealing with complex personal relationships, including strained family ties, amid the all-consuming pressure in Taiwan to do well academically. In these novels, the students find support with a trusted teacher. While exploring taboo relationships between young students and older male teachers, these “campus novels” also shed light on issues related to Taiwan’s history and social and political relations, above all its changing relationship with China, and how these factors are manifested in Taiwan’s education policy. The novels by Dai and Standridge in particular give insight into ongoing struggles between the old regime and new Taiwan, over reverence for the legacy of Chinese culture and respect for authority itself, and the way forward for Taiwan identity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReading China against the Grain
Subtitle of host publicationImagining Communities
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781000216516
ISBN (Print)9780367406653
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


Dive into the research topics of 'Tales out of school: Campus fiction from Taiwan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this