Intermedial Translation as Circulation: Chu Tien-wen, Taiwan New Cinema, and Taiwan Literature

Siu Yin Yeung

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


We generally believe that literature first circulates nationally and then scales up through translation and reception at an international level. In contrast, I argue that Taiwan literature first attained international acclaim through intermedial translation during the New Cinema period (1982–90) and was only then subsequently recognized nationally. These intermedial translations included not only adaptations of literature for film, but also collaborations between authors who acted as screenwriters and filmmakers. The films resulting from these collaborations repositioned Taiwan as a multilingual, multicultural and democratic nation. These shifts in media facilitated the circulation of these new narratives. Filmmakers could circumvent censorship at home and reach international audiences at Western film festivals. The international success ensured the wide circulation of these narratives in Taiwan.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)568-586
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of World Literature
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2020

User-Defined Keywords

  • Taiwan
  • screenplay
  • film
  • allegory
  • cultural policy


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