By Táňa Dluhošová
Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, vol. 31, no.1 (Spring 2019), pp. 79-120
Ye Shitao (1925–2008) is famous as a writer and literary historian who was active during all stages of modern Taiwanese literature. He is celebrated for his truthful depictions of local Taiwanese conditions and the lives of ordinary Taiwanese. His post-war writing, however, consisting of twelve short-stories about historical themes is strikingly different. This essay analyzes how Ye Shitao explores the possibilities of constructing alternative fictional realities and the vast range of ways literature can do so. Starting out from Lubomir Doležel’s theory of possible worlds, the essay traces how Ye Shitao engages with historical knowledge and how he transforms such knowledge into imaginary worlds. In addition, the essay analyzes the welter of new meanings generated by this transformation and traces literary influences on Ye’s unique literary style.