Li Ang (1952–) is a famous and prolific feminist writer from Taiwan who challenges and subverts sociocultural traditions through her daring explorations of sex, violence, women’s bodies and desire, and national politics. As a taboo-breaking writer and social critic, she uses fiction to expose injustice and represent human nature. Her political engagement further affords her a visionary perspective for interrogating the problematic intersection of gender and politics. The ambivalence in her fictional representations invites controversies and debates. Her works have thus helped raise awareness of the problems, open up discussions, and bring about social and intellectual changes. Some of her works have been translated into such foreign languages as English, French, German, and Japanese. In her career spanning over forty years, she has won numerous literary awards.
Li Ang’s Visionary Challenges to Gender, Sex, and Politics is the first collection of critical essays in English on Li Ang and some of her most celebrated works. Contributing historians examine her vital roles in the Taiwanese women’s movement and political arenas, as well as the social influence of her publications on extramarital affairs. Contributing literary scholars investigate the feminist controversy over her 1983 award-winning novel, Shafu (Killing the Husband; translated as The Butcher’s Wife); offer alternative interpretative strategies such as looking into figurations of “biopower” and relationship dynamics; dissect the subtle political significance in her magnificent novel Miyuan (The labyrinthine garden; 1991) and explosive political fiction, Beigang xianglu renren cha (Everyone sticks incense into the Beigang censer; 1997) from the perspective of gender and national identity; scrutinize the multiple discursive levels in her superb novel Qishi yinyuan zhi Taiwan/Zhongguo qingren (Seven prelives of affective affinity: Taiwan/China lovers;2009); and analyze the “(dis)embodied subversion” accomplished by her fantastic Kandejian de gui (Visible ghosts; 2004).
As the first volume in English to examine Li Ang’s trail-blazing discourse on gender, sex, and politics, this work will inspire more studies of her oeuvre and contribute usefully to the fields of modern Taiwanese and Chinese literature, feminist studies, and comparative literature.