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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


Yi-Chun Ro's Fourth-Person Singular Writing (2/2): a Cartography of Time

Vol. 35 No. 2   12/2005    


Yi-Chun Ro's Fourth-Person Singular Writing (2/2): a Cartography of Time


Kai-lin Yang









Key words

temporality, virtuality,I, the fourth-person singular, memory, death


   This essay is a continuation of my previous essay "Yi-Chun Ro's Fourth-Person Singular Writing (1/2): An Archeology of Space."  I would like to analyze the temporality and its related “horizons" in Yi-Chun Ro's novels. First of all, the “I" which appears recurrently in his novels, acting as a narrative voice or a personage which links a variety of stories, is actually a "fourth-person" or an "impersonal" writing. Because of the extreme fragmentation and delocalization of the narration, the "I" does not refer to any actual and specific individual; on the contrary, it is a patchwork of all kinds of gossips, memories, events, dreams, etc. Second, memory becomes material with which Yi-Chun Ro manipulates temporality in his novels; reminiscence of memory and forgetting of memory constitute in time a complicated series of difference and repetition. His novels become, at last, an "I-City" built upon memory (or its remembering), a town-building project for a vast virtual city. Third, time is regarded as equivalent to damage, while life is a procedure of breakdown; after having suffered all kinds of injuries, the "I" writes merely to dispel sadness in order to get through the remaining life. Forth, death becomes the border of Yi-Chun Ro's writing; however, he attempts constantly to transgress it or to delimit it. Various kinds of extraordinary deaths spout; it seems that only at the frontier of life and death, the virtuality of writing is opened up. What sustains such a singular writing which plays daringly with death is nevertheless undoubtedly the intensity of life which gushes and rushes over the highly tense verbal plane. Writing becomes, hence, a "preface to transgression."



Author: Kai-lin Yang
Genre: Article
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