Hong Kong literary history presents a polemical case study for a contemporary rethinking of national literary history: Is it a local history or a global history? How should we describe the complex connections between the city’s sinophone literature and the literatures of mainland China and other sinophone locations? This essay recognizes the significance of the Hong Kong identity discourse constructed around the 1997 “Handover,” but it argues that a historical narration of localness should not be confined by this discourse. Rather, it is important to consider the interactions between the local and the nonlocal and to examine how knowledge is made in and transacted between specific places. Taking I City, a 1975 nationalist allegory of Hong Kong, as an example, the essay shows that the principle of modernist collage enables Xi Xi to construct a narrative of the local that retains myriad complex connections with nonlocal places. Collage can be understood as the poetics of Hong Kong literary history.
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Shuang Shen; Hong Kong Literary History and the Construction of the Local in Xi Xi’s I City. Modern Language Quarterly 1 December 2012; 73 (4): 569–595. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-1723380
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