Imagining home: literary fantasy in contemporary Chinese diasporic women’s literature

Tang, Fang (2018) Imagining home: literary fantasy in contemporary Chinese diasporic women’s literature. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

[img] PDF (repository staff only) (Thesis - as examined) - Repository staff only - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (1MB)


This thesis explores the use of literary fantasy in the construction of identity and ‘home’ in contemporary diasporic Chinese women’s literature. I argues that the use of fantasy acts as a way of undermining the power of patriarchal values and unsettling fixed notions of home. In each of these four texts by Chinese diasporic women author, the authors or their protagonists describe different explorations of the search for home: a space where they can articulate their voices and desires. The notion of home for these diasporic Chinese women is much more complex than a simple feeling of nostalgia in response to a state of displacement and unhomeliness. The idea of home relates to complicated struggles to gain a sense of belonging, as experienced by marginalized subjects constructing their diasporic identities — which can best be understood as unstable, shifting, and shaped by historical conditions and power relations.

Fantasy is seen as a literary mode in the corpus of this study, as described in Rosemary Jackson’s Fantasy: the Literature of Subversion (1981). Literary fantasy offers a way to rework ancient myths, fairytales, ghost stories and legends; it also subverts conventional narrative representation, and challenges the restricting powers of patriarchy and other dominant ideologies. Through a critical reading of four texts written by diasporic Chinese women, namely, Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior (1976); Adeline Yen Mah’s Falling Leaves Return to Their Roots: The True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter (1997); Ying Chen’s Ingratitude (1995) and Larissa Lai’s When Fox is a Thousand (1995), this thesis aims to offer critical insights into how these works re-imagine a ‘home’ through literary fantasy which leads beyond the nationalist and Orientalist stereotypes; and how essentialist conceptions of diasporic culture are challenged by global geopolitics and cultural interactions.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Chapman, Rosemary
Bao, Hongwei
Keywords: diasporic literature, identity, home, fantasy
Subjects: P Language and literature > PR English literature
P Language and literature > PS American literature
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies
Item ID: 52130
Depositing User: TANG, Fang
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2018 13:59
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 16:45

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View