LI ANG, PEN NAME OF SHI SHUDUAN (1952— ) - The Dictionary

Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010

The Dictionary

LI ANG, PEN NAME OF SHI SHUDUAN (1952— ). Fiction writer. A native of Taiwan, Li Ang studied philosophy at the University of Chinese Culture in Taiwan and attended the University of Oregon in the United States, majoring in dramatic arts. She published her first story in 1968 while still a high school student. Influenced by Western modernism introduced to Taiwan in the 1960s and 1970s, Li Ang was interested in exploring the inner workings of the individual, such as described in the subtly erotic story “Hua ji” (Flower Season), about a teenage girl’s sexual fantasies. Li Ang is noted for her social writings about the fate of the individual when he or she comes into conflict with the established norms of society, particularly in the form of the clash of values between Western and traditional Chinese beliefs. As Taiwan underwent rapid modernization, Li Ang was increasingly aware of the horrific conditions of women who were victims of superstition, violence, and sexual brutality. Her best-known work is the controversial novella, Shafu (The Butcher’s Wife), a gripping story about a peasant woman who learns to empower herself against her abusive husband. When the story first came out in 1982, it caused a great storm. While it won the prestigious Unitas Fiction Award, the work was criticized for being “immoral” and sensational because of its bold exposition of sexuality and its militant feminist stance. The publication of the book in English in 1986 made Li Ang an internationally recognized writer.