LIU YICHANG, PEN NAME OF LIU TONGYI (1918— ) - The Dictionary

Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010

The Dictionary

LIU YICHANG, PEN NAME OF LIU TONGYI (1918— ). Fiction writer, essayist, and newspaperman. Born in Shanghai, Liu Yichang was born in Shanghai and graduated from St. Johns University in 1981. All his life he worked as a journalist and editor. He moved to Hong Kong in 1948 and wrote for the Xingdao Evening and a few years later he went to Singapore to edit a newspaper there. Returning to Hong Kong in 1957, Liu continued his writing career. Other than the large quantity of articles he wrote for newspapers, Liu devoted much of his time to his creative work. His novel Jiutu (An Alcoholic) is considered the first Chinese novel to use the technique of stream of consciousness. The protagonist is a writer, not unlike the author himself, forced by circumstances to give up his literary dreams to write popular, tasteless novels. As his notoriety rises, he sinks low spiritually. The random, disjointed remarks made in his drunken state are the most revealing of his psyche. When he sobers up, he has to face reality. Between drunkenness and sobriety, between illusion and reality, lies the inconvenient truth that ideals are hard to realize in real life.

Liu’s other notable works include another novel, Taoci (Chinaware), four collections of novellas and short stories: Tiantang yu diyu (Heaven and Hell), Si nei (Inside the Temple), Yi jiu jiu qi (Nineteen Ninety-seven), and Chun yu (Spring Rain). Liu’s fictional works are noted for their penchant for avant-gardism and experimentalism, representing the modernist movement in Hong Kong. Liu has had a long, prolific career in literature and journalism. He is also noted for his success at building bridges between Chinese-speaking communities by publishing literature written in Chinese from all over the world during his tenure as the editor-in-chief and director of Hong Kong Literature from 1985 to 2002.