Organized Panel Session
Han Suyin (1917-2012), born and raised in China, was an active Chinese-Belgian writer in Asia. As an Eurasian woman Anglophone writer who sojourned in colonial Hong Kong, Han takes advantage of her marginal positions and builds a creative vision to scrutinize her unsettled Chineseness and to articulate different gender and colonial relationships in Cold War Asia that are of particular interest to students in today’s multicultural classrooms.
This paper focuses on Han’s construction of her own vision in her semi-autobiographical novel A Many-Splendoured Thing (1952). The story depicts an interracial adultery romance based on the author’s own romance with the Australian journalist Ian Morrison (1913-1950). The female protagonist's Eurasian identity provokes the issue of hybrid identity and conflicting self-identification during the Cold War era in the “contact zone” Hong Kong. Her fluid identities as Chinese and Eurasian help her navigate her way to gain love, by reflecting on the restraints of ethnic identity, gender relations, and colonialism.
Thus, this paper explores a mode of narrative from the periphery of China in the postwar era. It challenges dominant nationalistic literary discourses of modern China, as well as the colonial literature pattern of Hong Kong.