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


Literature as Psychiatric Treatment: Taiwan Poetess Ye Hong as Subject

Vol. 44 No. 2   6/2014    


Literature as Psychiatric Treatment: Taiwan Poetess Ye Hong as Subject


Lee, Kuei-yun









Key words

Ye Hong, melancholia, meaning of writing, death writing, psychiatric treatment


        This paper discusses the Taiwanese woman poet Ye Hong 葉紅’s poems about death, attempting to articulate her perspective on death and what it means in her poetry. Based on her poetry linking psychiatric treatment with death writing, this paper further explains how the poet employs the imagery of death and poetry writing as an escape from life crisis.  In the case of Ye Hong, literature as psychiatric treatment did serve to soothe her melancholia and prevent her from losing her capability of speaking. At the same time, she also attempted to save herself by writing about death, that is, by sublimating the death drive by incessantly refashioning the signs of death in her poems. Ye’s death, however, indicates the impossibility of redemption through writing: poetry can never be a substitute for medical treatment. Nevertheless, considering the eternal value of literary work, we may conclude that literature is Ye’s afterlife, through which readers can overcome her physical death by returning again and again to her narrative of death before she died.


Author: Lee, Kuei-yun
Genre: Article
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