Main Content

[活動回放]Self-translation and the Notion of Filiality in Eileen Chang's Fiction








張愛玲研究新方向講座系列 New Directions in Eileen Chang Studies Lecture Series (Round Table Discussion)

Co-hosted by School of Chinese and Department of Comparative Literature, HKU

Co-sponsored by Louis Cha Fund for Chinese studies & East/West studies in the Faculty

& Center for the Study of Globalization and Culture (CSGC)


Self-translation and the Notion of Filiality in Eileen Chang's Fiction


Speakers: Prof. Christopher LUPKE (University of Alberta)

& Dr. Jessica Tsui-yan LI (York University) 

Commentators: Dr. LIN Pei-yin & Prof. Nicole HUANG (HKU)


Date & Time: July 3, 2023 (Mon) 16:00-18:00pm

Language: English

Venue: Level 2 Multi-Purpose Area (Ingenium), Main Library, Main Campus, HKU


Meeting ID: 994 4565 5074

Password: 999985


Topic #1: Ritual, Repression, Repetition, and Reproduction In the Fiction of Eileen Chang

This presentation considers the fiction of Eileen Chang, especially her classic short story “The Golden Cangue” (1943) in light of the grammar of filiality in Chinese society and cultural representation. One might initially think, how does Eileen Chang’s work figure into the scheme of filiality? Narrowly understood, filiality primarily means respect for one’s parents, ancestors, and privileges the vaunted role of sons in the process of biological reproduction. But when we investigate filiality more deeply, we can see that it functions in Chinese society (and all of East Asia for that matter) as a sort of grammar that has loosely scripted consanguine relations for more than two millennia. But that all changed in the modern era when filiality became the battleground in the crisis between tradition and modernity. So, how does Eileen Chang fit in? Many of her works very consciously or even obsessively linger upon the questions of marriage, biological reproduction, and intergenerational relations. “The Golden Cangue,” a story in which the main character Qiqiao is forced into a loveless marriage of convenience by her relatives for monetary gain, is perhaps the best example in modern Chinese fiction of a person once persecuted who becomes the perpetrator, someone who was a victim of feudal values and social convention who returns at a later age to inflict on her own children the same sort of abuse that was visited upon her. This disturbing fact has created one of the most fascinating caesuras in modern Chinese literature and an endless point of speculation and discussion for scholars of the modern era. What do we do when the target of mistreatment and trauma becomes one of its most adroit and gruesome offenders? Eileen Chang’s work persists in haunting our thinking and discussions precisely because of its irremediable refusal to allow us to empathize with one of its most emblematic victims.


Christopher Lupke (Ph. D. Cornell University) is Professor of Chinese Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta and former Chair of the Department of East Asian Studies. A scholar of modern and contemporary Chinese literature and cinema, his books include The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien: Culture, Style, Voice, and Motion and a translation of Ye Shitao’s monumental work, A History of Taiwan Literature, which one the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for the translation of a scholarly book from the Modern Language Association. Christopher Lupke has edited or co-edited five books and five special journal issues, and is the recipient of the Michael Delahoyde Award for Distinguished Editing. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Asian Studies, boundary 2, Comparative Literature Studies, Modern Chinese Literature, and numerous other publications. Lupke’s current research project is a book-length study of the Confucian notion of “filiality” in contemporary Chinese and Sinophone fiction.


Topic #2: Eileen Chang's Works and Self-Translation

Eileen Chang’s literary achievements are in part a result of her bilingualism and self-translation, which means that her work engages mainly with two languages and their related literary traditions, cultures, and critical traditions, although this point is overlooked in most studies of her works. As a Chinese and English bilingual writer and self-translator, Chang both preserves and transgresses the Chinese and English literary and cultural conventions that provide the larger context of this study. This talk focuses on Eileen Chang’s Chinese short story “Guihuazheng: Ah Xiao beiqiu” (1944), Chang’s self-translation into English, “Shame, Amah!” (1962), and its triangular English translation by Simon Patton, “Steamed Osmanthus Flower: Ah Xiao’s Unhappy Autumn” (2000). Dr. Jessica Tsui-yan Li will examine the in-betweenness and an interdependent relationship among these texts. She argues that the combination of Chinese and English versions presents a better picture of both Chinese and Western perspectives on gender relations and life philosophy in early twentieth-century China.


Jessica Tsui-yan Li (Ph.D. Chinese University of Hong Kong; Ph.D. University of Toronto) is Associate Professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics at York University. She is Past President of the Canadian Comparative Literature Association. She has published on modern and contemporary Chinese literature, Chinese Canadian literature, film, drama, translation studies, gender studies, Hong Kong studies, and diasporic studies. She is the editor of The Transcultural Streams of Chinese Canadian Identities (McGill-Queen’s University Press 2019) and the guest editor of the special issues for the Canadian Review of Comparative Literature/ Revue Canadienne de Littérature Comparée on “Engaging Communities in Comparative Literature” June 2017 44.2 and “Garnering Diversities in Comparative Literature” June 2018 45.2. She has published several articles on Eileen Chang Studies. Her essay, “Xunfang Zhang Ailing de Xingkong” (Seeking the Starry Sky of Zhang Ailing) published in Dang’an Chunqiu (Memories and Archives) in Shanghai in 2015 received the finalist award organized by Shanghai shi dang’an guan (Shanghai Municipal Archives). She is currently working on a monograph on the self-translation of Eileen Chang.



1) The seminar will be conducted primarily in a face-to-face mode;

2) All those who would like to attend the seminar are required to register online (Click HERE) on a first-come, first-served basis;

3) Email of confirmation will be sent to the registered email addresses and participants have to show the screenshot or print-out version of the email for entry of the seminar venue;

4) In light of the limitation of venue capacity, the participants whose online registration are put on the waiting list may have to join the event via Zoom in case of necessary; 

5) Walk-in or late-comers will not be allowed for entry of the seminar venue unless situation allows.


ALL are welcome*

*Pre-registration (Click HERE) is requested.