Stream of consciousness' and feminist narratives in Republican Chinese women's literature
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date31/07/2022
Relocating the originally Western notion of “stream-of-consciousness” (SOC) to Republican China, this study examines this narrative style in Republican women’s literature from the perspective of feminist narratives. It presents an analysis of three literary techniques that frequently appeared in Republican women’s writings, not only as SOC narrative strategies, but also as modes of feminist expression: interior monologue, free indirect discourse and montage. This research shows that in the Republican era, in addition to Lin Huiyin 林徽 因 (1904-1955) who has been considered a pioneer in SOC writing, several other contemporary women writers, including Lu Yin 庐隐 (1898-1934), Ling Shuhua 凌叔华 (1900-1990), Chen Xuezhao 陈学昭 (1906-1991), Ding Ling 丁玲(1904-1986), Ge Qin 葛琴 (1907-1995), Feng Yuanjun 冯沅君 (1900- 1974), Xiao Hong 萧红 (1911-1942), Mei Niang 梅娘 (1920-2013) and Eileen Chang 张爱玲 (1920-1995), all employed various literary techniques to present SOC styles, but these works have been largely ignored in this regard. Importantly, this narrative style is not only a demonstration of the female experience, but is also a subversion of patriarchal discourse. The term SOC was taken from the field of psychology, and the definition of this concept is still in dispute as a literary term. For the sake of interpreting literary works more appropriately, this study shifts the analytical focus onto the three literary techniques that frequently appeared in women writers’ fiction. Through specific textual analysis, this research explores in depth how and why Republican women writers employed these narrative strategies to present a stream-of-consciousness style and highlight the personal and collective female experience, thereby constructing modes of feminist expression to form a dialogue with patriarchal writing. In addition, this research contributes to a new paradigm for the study of feminism in Republican women’s literature.