Perry Link’s introduction to Eileen Chang’s *Naked Earth*

Adapted from Perry Link’s introduction to Eileen Chang’s Naked Earth, to be published on June 16 by New York Review Books.

attached to: Zhang Ailing


# 1.   

It's not entirely appropriate to talk of Rice Sprout Song and Naked Earth as a pair as Link does.

Although Rice Sprout Song was paid for by US Information Service, it was a story Chang wanted to tell, based closely on her own experience in the countryside chasing after Hu Lancheng (lots of passages in Rice Sprout Song adapted from the unfinished pre-'49 essay 異鄉記). It's a great story that still stands up today, in English and Chinese, and Eileen Chang was very proud of it.

On the other hand, according to Eileen Chang and her friend Stephen Soong's later accounts, composition of Naked Earth was quite an unhappy experience, written according to an outline provided by the US Information Service.

It's telling that in 1965 when Chang writes an autobiographical entry for a US publication she only mentions Rice Sprout Song.张爱玲一九六五年英文自传/

Translation Trivia: Rice Sprout Song was written first in English, although the Chinese version was published first. Naked Earth was written first in Chinese.

The above-mentioned Stephen Soong is quite an important figure in Chinese-English translation studies and wrote a great book on the Hawkes translation of Hongloumeng called 《紅樓夢西遊記》

James J, May 17, 2015, 1:28p.m.

# 2.   

Interesting ESWN link -- thanks for that! It's easy to forget what a deep influence politics had on everything during the Cold War period.

 Eric Abrahamsen, May 17, 2015, 4:49p.m.

# 3.   

Yes, in fact despite the fact that Naked Earth was basically just Anti Communist propaganda, it couldn't be published in Taiwan without several alterations because it depicted people mocking Chiang Kai-shek.

Here's an essay by Roland Soong about that and some others issues around Naked Earth:

James J, May 17, 2015, 6:29p.m.

# 4.   

Agree with the interesting comments by James J.May.Rice Sprout Song was translated into French by Emi Molinié and published by Calman Levy in 1958. The foreword written by Eileen Chang in HK in january 1955 and also translated certainly shows that she was quite happy with the book.

Bertrand Mialaret, May 18, 2015, 2:01p.m.

# 5.   

Some info on the 'Naked Earth written according to USIS outline' thing, if anyone's interested:

James J, May 22, 2015, 9:53p.m.


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