The borrowed non-place: A study of temporality and spatiality in Hong Kong modernist fiction before 1997

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Abstract

Before the 1997 handover, Hong Kong was always considered “a borrowed place living on borrowed time”. This expression seems to imply that Hong Kong people did not live in reality, and Hong Kong modernist writers indeed tend to depict a surreal world in their novels. Leung Ping-kwan and Xi Xi are two examples, who like to employ magic-realism to create an atemporal and aspatial world in their literary works. This observation not only contributes to our understanding of the characteristics of the borrowed place, but also helps us reconsider the notion of “non-place”. Hong Kong becomes a “non-place” in Leung’s and Xi Xi’s novels, though the physical place itself, to a certain extent, could be defined as relational, historical and concerned with identity. Thus, to Hong Kong modernist writers, the notion of “non-place” becomes a subjective concept, which is quite different from M. Auge’s original thoughts. The aims of this study are twofold: First, to exhibit the characteristics of the borrowed space through examining the temporality and spatiality embodied in the most representative Hong Kong modernist fictions written during colonial period. Second, to reconsider the notion of “non-place”.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

Citation

Au, C. T. (2013, June). The borrowed non-place: A study of temporality and spatiality in Hong Kong modernist fiction before 1997. Paper presented at the Eighth International Convention of Asia Scholars, Macao, China.

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