Transcultural Aspects in Chang Yi-Jen’s 張以仁 Poetry

Christian Soffel


The focus of the present paper is on the poetic oeuvre of the scholar and poet Chang Yi-Jen (Zhang Yiren 張以仁, 1930–2009). Born in Hunan (Mainland China), he had become familiar with the art of writing traditional Chinese poetry when still a boy. After the end of the Chinese civil war, he was relocated, with his family, to Taiwan. Notwithstanding some early and modest poetic attempts, he eventually began writing huge amounts of poetry in traditional forms around 1987. This late period of creativity lasted for 20 more years, until the very end of his life. His most active phase as a poet thus coincides with the political opening in Taiwan, beginning in the late 1980s.

Even though Chang Yi-Jen mostly applied the formal rules of traditional Chinese shi  詩 and ci 詞 poetry, in his works we encounter several peculiarities, which can be characterized as “transculturality”. Firstly, there are many direct references to Western culture, including impressions from his travels to the United States. Secondly, he tends to adapt elements from traditional Chinese culture, which also serve as a contrast to modernity, often causing a humorous effect on the reader. Thus, I will be able to demonstrate both diachronic and synchronic aspects of transculturality, which—due to Chang Yi-Jen’s affinity to comment on contemporary events—also can serve as a mirror of contemporary Taiwanese history.


Transculturality, Classicist Poetry, Taiwan, Chang Yi-jen, Sinophone Poetry

Full Text:



Dick, L. (2004): Butchart Gardens. The Public Historian, 26(4), 88–90.

Du Fu 杜甫, Chou Zhaobie 仇兆鱉 ed. (1979). Du shi xiang zhu 杜詩詳注. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju.

Kwong, Charles (2003). Nature and Religion in Ancient Chinese Poetry. Journal of Asian History, 37(1), 33–69.

Kwong, Yim-tze (1989). Naturalness and Authenticity: The Poetry of Tao Qian. Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR), 11, 35–77.

James J. Y. Liu (1979): “Time, Space, and Self in Chinese Poetry”, in: Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR), vol. 1, no. 2 (July 1979), pp. 137–156.

Legge, James (1991). The Chinese Classics, Volume I. Taipei: SMC Publishing Taipei (reprint).

Mc Craw, David R. (1992). Du Fu’s Laments from the South. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Welsch, Wolfgang (1992). Transkulturalität – Lebensformen nach der Auflösung der Kulturen. Information Philosophie 1992.2, 5–20.

Welsch, Wolfgang (2017). Transkulturalität: Realität – Geschichte – Aufgabe. Wien: New Academic Press.

Yang Zhiyi (2015): Frankfurt Consensus. Frontiers of Literary Studies in China, 9(4), 507–509.

Yang Zhiyi, Ma Dayong (2018): Classicism 2.0: The Vitality of Classicist Poetry Online in Contemporary China. Frontiers of Literary Studies in China, 12(3), 526–557.

Zhang Yangming 張揚明 (1937). Dao Xibei lai 到西北來. Shanghai: Shangwu yinshuguan.

---- (1968). Pinggeng yin cao 萍梗吟草. Taipei: Xingtai Press.

---- (1948). Guilai 歸來. Shanghai: Dongda shuju

---- (1985). Laozi kaozheng 老子考證. Taipei: Liming wenhua

Zhang Yiren 張以仁 (1996). Huajian ci lun ji 花間詞論集. Zhongguo wenzhe zhuankan 中國文哲專刊13. Taipei: Zhongyang yanjiuyuan Zhongguo wenzhe yanjiusuo.

---- (2006). Huajian ci lun xuji 花間詞論續集. Zhongguo wenzhe zhuankan 中國文哲專刊33. Taipei: Zhongyang yanjiuyuan Zhongguo wenzhe yanjiusuo.

---- (2010). Zhang Yiren xiansheng shi ci ji 張以仁先生詩詞集. Taipei: Guojia chubanshe.

---- (2010a). Zhang Yiren xiansheng wenji 張以仁先生文集. Taipei: Guojia chubanshe.

---- (2012). Zhang Yiren yuwenxue lunji 張以仁語文學論集. Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Christian Soffel

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved | Interface | ISSN: 2519-1268