Lai Ho & Wu Cho-liu Endowed Chair

By Kuo-ch’ing Tu, 2004

On April 30, 2004 the Lai Ho and Wu Cho-liu Endowed Chair in Taiwan Studies was formally established at the University of California, Santa Barbara with a $500,000 gift from a number of individual donors associated with the Taiwanese American Foundation of San Diego. The benefactors said they made the gift to help position the campus as an international center for the exploration of Taiwan’s literature, history, and culture.

The professorship has been named in honor of two major twentieth-century Taiwanese literary figures, the late Lai Ho, considered the pioneer of Taiwan literature, and the late Wu Cho-liu, a writer whose work represents Taiwanese cultural, political, and social concerns. The endowment will support the teaching and research of an eminent scholar chosen to fill the position, currently filled by Professor Kuo-ch’ing Tu, an acclaimed poet, translator, and critic, and a professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies.

This endowed chair will bring increased academic distinction to the campus and further enhance the prestige of our Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “We appreciate both the dedication and the generosity of the donors.”

Ronald Egan, chair of the department at the time, said “UCSB will likely become the focal point of scholarly specialization in Taiwan studies—unequaled elsewhere in the country.” Until the 1980s, when the social and political realities of Taiwan underwent fundamental changes, Taiwan and its distinctive culture had not been common subjects of academic inquiry, Egan explained. Over the last twenty years, Taiwan-related studies have grown significantly, attracting international scholarly attention.

“As scholars increasingly approach the study of Chinese literature and culture from a global perspective, Taiwan studies becomes increasingly important,” said David Marshall, dean of humanities and fine arts in the College of Letters and Science. “This generous gift will build upon our strengths in this interdisciplinary area of study.”

Inauguration of the Lai Ho and Wu Cho-liu Endowed Chair in Taiwan Studies

Beauty and Fragrance Endure Forever—
Reflections on Taiwan Literature and Culture
Kuo-ch’ing Tu
Lai Ho and Wu Cho-liu
Professor of Taiwan Studies
Beauty and Fragrance Endure Forever—

Reflections on Taiwan Literature and Culture

by Kuo-ch’ing Tu

In retrospect, I feel that the establishment of the Lai Ho and Wu Cho-liu Endowed Chair in Taiwan Studies at UCSB is a karmic effect of my experience in February, 2001, when I was first invited to the San Diego Taiwan Center to give a talk on the Study of Taiwan Literature and the Development of Modern Poetry in Taiwan, at the invitation of the Taiwanese American Foundation of San Diego. It was indeed, a propitious occasion and a garden has now grown from the small seed that was planted then.

It has been three years since I made the acquaintance of the coordinator of the Culture and History Series, Dr. Edward Cheng, and the individual donors associated with the Taiwanese American Foundation of San Diego. Later that year, in August, 2001, when I returned to visit the Chengs at their residence, I wrote a poem, which as I now recall, reveals well my feelings at the time and provides an appropriate backdrop for this occasion today.

The title of the poem is “Viewing the Night-Blooming Cereus.” The cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) is a plant that blooms only at night, beautiful and fragrant, but withers after only a few hours. In Chinese we have the expression, Tanhua yixian, meaning life is transitory and beautiful things quickly vanish from the world. During my second visit to Dr. and Mrs. Cheng’s residence, we were able to share the magical moment of its bloom and enjoyed viewing the night-blooming cereus in the garden until midnight. In the presence of those elusive flowers we chatted freely about life, and about Taiwan literature, and realized that between transience and eternity, between reality and dreams, there seem to be hidden truths and absurdities of life. Thereupon I wrote this poem to express my thoughts and appreciation of their hospitality and by extension, it reflects the inspiration for my quest to promote Taiwan literature, culture, and history so that it might “last forever in the world.” I share these thoughts with you now.

Viewing the Night-Blooming Cereus

My night-blooming cereus at home has two buds left
waiting for you that will blossom tonight for certain
And indeed in the thick green of branches and leaves
hang many white flowers not wholly past their prime
necks subtly arched of a whiteness streaked with red
held aloft twin clustered buds
ready to break open and brimming with fragrance
as they beam welcoming smiles
The scent of night-blooming cereus grows ever stronger
in the deepening night a Southern California summer night
with a pressing chill in the air as we continue to chat
unreservedly of how life began to blossom
and bear fruit after emigrating abroad
How the native literature of Taiwan
is striking root in the United States
The rich perfume is enhanced in purity
with the deepening of the night Our lively talk
as we view in admiration opens suddenly into a flower of wisdom
Witnessed tonight by the Goddess of Flowers
this brief revelation of the night-blooming cereus whether illusion or dream
was only so that the beauty and fragrance of life
might endure forever in the world

As a poet and scholar appointed to be the first holder of the Lai Ho and Wu Choliu Endowed Chair in Taiwan Studies at UCSB, this day is the most gratifying day of my academic career. Foremost, in realization of my long-held dream, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the donors for their generous gift to create this first Endowed Chair in Taiwan Studies in the academia of the United States. I also want to thank the Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts, the Provost of Letters and Science, and the Chancellor of UC Santa Barbara, for their thoughtful assistance and far-sightedness in developing Taiwan studies as a promising academic field in the United States. Further, I would like to thank all my colleagues and friends who have come to join us for this special occasion. My special thanks go to those from the Taiwanese American communities in Los Angeles, San Diego, and in northern and southern California, who have come from afar, and especially, the renowned Taiwanese writer, Mr. Lee Chiao, who has come from Taiwan and is the first invitee of the UCSB Taiwan Writer in Residence Program.

With the establishment of the Lai Ho and Wu Cho-liu Endowed Chair in Taiwan Studies, we will never forget the wishes and intents of its benefactors—to help position UCSB as an international center for the exploration of Taiwan literature, history, and culture. The professorship is named in honor of two major twentieth-century Taiwanese literary figures. Lai Ho, whose life span from 1894 to 1943 corresponds approximately to the fifty-year period of Japanese rule in Taiwan, was a pioneer who laid the foundation for the development of Taiwan literature and has generally been recognized as the father of Taiwan literature. Wu Cho-liu, who lived from 1900 to 1976, was an outstanding writer from the latter part of the Japanese occupation to three decades after World War II.

His works represent Taiwanese cultural, political, and social concerns together with the exploration of identity. On the foundation of the Lai Ho and Wu Cho-liu Endowed Chair I will strive to make UCSB a leading institution in Taiwan Studies and to advance the study of Taiwan literature and its culture to a higher level in the academic world of the United States.

Taiwan was first documented in 1544 by a Portuguese ship passing by en route to Japan and dubbed “Ilha Formosa” (the Beautiful Island) by the sailors, amazed at the beauty of the green and luxuriant mountains they saw from afar. Taiwan’s modern history is a complex one that has spanned about 400 years, beginning in the sixteenth century, with the end of the Ming and beginning of the Qing Dynasties, through various eras—from the occupation periods of the Spanish and Dutch, the Zheng Dynasty, Qing rule, Japanese colony, postwar, martial law, to the democratic society of today.

Due to its unique geographical location and historical background, Taiwan has developed a culture and society different from that of Mainland China. Taiwanese culture bears the characteristics of a sea-girt country, greatly influenced by maritime culture. Taiwan’s society is basically an immigrant society. An island nation’s culture is apt to be influenced from abroad, and the case of Japan is particularly remarkable. Taiwan has been greatly influenced by Japanese culture certainly as a result of fifty years’ rule by Japan, but the fact that Taiwan itself has the nature of an insular country in common with Japan is also an important factor. In addition to Chinese literature, influences from Japan and the West have further complicated the cultural background of Taiwan literature. Various foreign influences on Taiwan literature have made it an important subject for comparative study from an international perspective, and also have warranted its study on a theoretical basis for eventual evaluation within a global vision. As we all know, due to political and historical reasons, before the eighties, Taiwan and its culture were not a common subject of research in the academic world.

At the end of the seventies, mainland China adopted an open-door policy and started to encourage its scholars to undertake the study of Taiwan literature, which has since become a practical and prominent field of study in China. In 1987, martial law, which had been enforced for almost forty years in Taiwan, was lifted, thus engendering fundamental changes in the social and political realities of Taiwan. Grounded in concerns about Taiwan’s past and its future, at the end of the eighties scholars in Taiwan became enthusiastically engaged in the research of Taiwan literature and its native culture. By the nineties, these studies had become an international phenomenon, attracting scholarly attention and research interest from Japan, Europe, and America.

In addition to the newly established departments of Taiwan literature and cultural studies at various universities in Taiwan, research institutes such as the Society for Taiwan Studies at Tenri University and Japan Association for Taiwan Studies in Japan, and the Research Unit on Taiwanese Culture and Literature at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, were established in a timely manner as a response to the emerging trend. Working in concert with this international development, the Center for Taiwan Studies was established within the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies at UCSB last year, concurrently with the foundation of the Lai Ho and Wu Cho-liu Endowed Chair in Taiwan Studies.

The goals of the Center for Taiwan Studies are to promote scholarly research related to Taiwan, enhance international understanding of Taiwan and its culture, and advance the study of Taiwan culture worldwide. In furtherance of these goals, the Center promotes the translation of Taiwan literature into English and intellectual exchange among scholars of Taiwan studies.

The guiding principles of the Center are defined in relation to “cultural studies,” “academic positions,” and “international perspectives,” which provide a three-dimensional prism with which to explore Taiwan and experience its rich and varied cultural phenomena. The Center’s immediate objective is to establish a “Taiwan Studies Endowment” in order to carry out its long-term mission with the following specific components:

(1) To regularly conduct scholarly events, such as International Colloquia on Taiwan Literature and Culture, a Taiwan Studies Lecture Series, and Taiwan Writers in Residence at UCSB;
(2) To publish English translations of Taiwan writers’ works, especially single volumes of representative works of major writers and bilingual anthologies;
(3) To edit and publish monographs in English on Taiwan studies developed from the dissertations and research papers of young scholars and graduate students from universities in the United States.

There is a long way to go to accomplish our envisioned goals. On the foundation of the Lai Ho and Wu Cho-liu Endowed Chair we look forward to the day when UCSB will become a specialized institute for publishing Taiwan studies, an international center for the presentation of the literature, history, and culture of Taiwan.

Since 1996, in collaboration with the Council for Cultural Affairs, we have been publishing the biannual journal, Taiwan Literature: English Translation Series, intended to introduce the recently published voices of Taiwan literature to English readers as a means of enhancing the study of Taiwan literature from an international perspective. Through the efforts of the past seven years, we have obtained the assistance and cooperation of many scholars from the U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, making UCSB a stronghold for promoting English translation of Taiwan literature. Our fifteenth issue will be published in July.

Each issue has a theme chosen to reflect a particular feature of literature developed in Taiwan, and the major features so far introduced include “aboriginal literature in Taiwan,” “the nativist voice of Taiwan literature,” “literature and social concerns,” “urban literature and the fin de siècle in Taiwan,” “Taiwan literature, nature, and environment,” “children’s literature in Taiwan,” “women’s literature in Taiwan,” “Taiwan literature and history,” and “Taiwan literature and folklore.” The Center for Taiwan Studies is now poised to launch a new Taiwan Writers Translation Series this year, which, we believe will be put on a par with the Modern Chinese Literature from Taiwan currently published by Columbia University Press in a common effort to promote English translation of Taiwan literature. With Taiwan studies taking a prominent position in the academic landscape in the last twenty years, between imagination and reality, the actuality of Taiwan’s literature, history, and culture constitute a research subject that merits scholarly exploration and reexamination. In November we will convene an international conference on campus, entitled, Imagined Taiwan and Its Reality: An Exploration of Literature, History, and Culture, for an in-depth investigation of the actuality of Taiwan’s literature, history, and culture from international and intercultural viewpoints.

As the first appointee of the Lai Ho and Wu Cho-liu Endowed Chair in Taiwan Studies, beyond the honor, I feel the heaviness of the responsibility and the length of the way ahead. I cannot help but brood over Confucius’ disciple Tseng-tzu’s observation in the Analects, where he seemed to be reflecting on the momentous transformation of his life that resulted from schooling under the master. Tseng-tsu said (in the translation by Ku Hung-ming),

An educated gentleman may not be without strength and
resoluteness of character. His responsibility in life is a heavy one
and the way is long. He is responsible to himself for living a moral
life; is that not a heavy responsibility? He must continue in it until
he dies; is the way then not a long one?

Although the resonance between my awareness and Tseng-tzu’s is tenuous, there is still a resemblance; and in accepting the appointment to this endowed chair, I sense, like Tsengtzu, the solemnity of a commitment made.

With the expectations of the donors and the trust of the University in mind, I will always put forth my best effort to carry the heavy responsibilities of promoting Taiwan studies in U.S. academia, and devote myself to fulfilling the promise of this position. I believe that I and every successor to this chair will enjoy the spiritual blessings of Lai Ho and Wu Cho-liu, and that perhaps this brief revelation of the night-blooming cereus whether illusion or dream was only so that the beauty and fragrance of life might endure forever in the world.

現在回想起來,加州大學「賴和吳濁流台灣研究講座」的設立,一切因緣來 自2001年二月,我第一次應聖地亞哥台美基金會的邀請,到聖地亞哥台灣中心演 講「台灣文學研究與台灣新詩的發展」。那的確是一個幸會,當時種下的種子現在 已蔚然成園。
與該講座的主持人鄭德昌和聖地亞哥台美基金會諸位個人捐贈者認識以來,前後已有了三年。2001年8月,再到鄭德昌伉儷府上作客,我曾寫了一首詩,現在 回想起來,頗能道出當時的心情,也為今天這一盛會提供了適當的背景。
這首詩的題目是「夜觀曇化」。曇花(Epiphyllum oxypetalum)在夜間開 花,美麗,芳香,幾小時之後就凋謝了,因此中文有「曇花一現」的成語,意指生 命無常,美好的事物很快就從世間消失。第二次再到德昌伉儷府上作客時,我們觀 賞院中的曇花,直到深夜。在曇花前暢談人生與台灣文學,感悟短暫與永恆,現實 與夢想之間,似乎隱含生命的真意與揶揄,乃抒所懷,藉以表現對台灣文學的及其 文化歷史的追求和研究,並謝德昌伉儷雅意於萬一。因此,我想借這個機會,朗讀 這首詩,並向鄭德昌伉儷和諸位捐贈者,表示衷心的感謝。
我家的曇花 最後兩朵
等著你來 今晚一定盛開
果然 在枝葉綠叢中
昂然微翹的頸子 白中透紅
挺起 苞滿的兩叢
欲開未放 溢出芳香
曇花的芳香 越來越濃
夜已深 南加州的夏夜
寒氣陣陣逼人 我們仍在
暢談 移植海外之後
人生 如何開花結果
台灣原產的文學 如何
濃烈的芳香 隨著夜深
越來越清純 我們的談興
在觀賞中 頓開智慧的花朵﹕
今夜 花神作證
曇花暫時一現 是幻是夢
只為 生命的美麗與芳香
永遠 遺留人間
作為一個詩人學者,被任命為聖塔芭芭拉加州大學第一任「賴和吳濁流台灣研究講 座」的講座教授,今天是我一生中最榮耀的日子。首先,在此,我對提供資金設立美國學 術界首創的「賴和吳濁流台灣研究講座」的捐贈者,以及我校人文藝術學院院長、文理學 院院長、以及校長等,對於在美國學術界拓展台灣研究這一學術領域的前瞻視野和熱心協 助,使我多年來的願望終於能夠實現,表示衷心的感謝。同時,我也非常感謝前來參加這 個盛會的許多同事和關心台灣研究的朋友,來自洛杉磯、聖地亞哥等南加州台美人社區, 尤其是來自台灣的名作家李喬先生,他是「UCSB 台灣作家短期駐校」項目第一位邀請的 台灣作家。
「賴和吳濁流台灣研究講座」的設立,我們不會忘記捐贈者的希望,就是使 我校成為研究台灣文學、歷史和 文化的一個國際中心。講座以兩位二十世紀台灣 文學人物命名:台灣文學的先驅者賴和(1894-1943)以及以《亞細亞的孤兒》一 書聞名的作家吳濁流(1900-1976)。賴和的一生大致相當於日本統治台灣時期的 五十年,為台灣文學後來的發展奠立了基礎,一般認為是台灣文學之父,而吳濁流 是從日據時代後期到戰後三十年的傑出作家,他的作品代表對台灣文化、政治和社 會的關切和認同的探索。我們深信,在「賴和吳濁流台灣研究講座」的基礎上,我 們今後的努力,將使聖塔芭芭拉加州大學成為台灣研究這一專門學術領域的重鎮, 以期美國學術界在台灣文學及其文化研究方面的拓展,今後更上一層樓。 1544 年,世界歷史首次出現台灣紀錄:一艘葡萄牙船在航往日本途中經過 台灣(導航者為荷蘭人 Jan Huygen van Linschoten ),船上的水手在大海中遠望 島上鬱鬱蒼蒼,驚艷之餘,嘆呼“Ilha Formosa”(福爾摩沙),意即美麗婆娑之島。
台灣的近代歷史,大約四百年,開始於十六世紀中葉,從明末清初,經過各個階 段,從西班牙、荷蘭佔領,鄭氏王朝、清朝統治、日本殖民時期、戰後、戒嚴、以 至目前的民主社會。
由於台灣的特殊地理位置和歷史背景,具有與大陸不同的文化社會。台灣文 化具有島國特色,深受海洋文化的影響,而台灣社會基本上是移民社會。島國文化 容易受到外來的影響;這在日本尤其明顯。台灣深受日本文化的影響,固然由於曾 經受過日本統治五十年的結果,而台灣本身具有島國文化的共通性,也是一個重要 的因素。除了中國文學以外,日本文學以及歐美文學等外來影響,使台灣文學的文 化背景顯得更加復雜。台灣文學在發展的歷史過程中所接受的世界各國文學的影 響,使台灣文學成為國際比較文學上一個重要的課題,也構成了台灣文學研究的最 終定位和評價具有國際視野的一個理論基礎。
我們都知道,由於政治歷史等原因,在八十年代以前,台灣及其文化並非學 術界常見的研究對象。中國大陸在七十年代末期採取的開放政策,開始積極鼓勵學 者研究台灣文學,而使台灣文學的研究在大陸成為一個顯學。1987 年,台灣解除 了實施將近四十年的戒嚴,社會和政治現實發生了根本的變革。基於對台灣的過去 與未來的關心,台灣學者也在八十年代末期開始對台灣文學和本土文化加以積極研 究。九十年代以來,台灣文學與文化的研究已形成為一種國際現象,引起了日本和 歐美許多學者的關注和研究興趣。
除了在台灣的許多大學紛紛成立台灣文學與文化研究的科系之外,日本天理 大學台灣學會以及東京大學日本台灣研究學會、德國魯爾大學的台灣文化和文學研 究所,可以說是這一領域應時出現的學術機構。呼應這一國際趨勢,我校在去年設 立「賴和吳濁流台灣研究講座」同時,在東亞語言文化研究系成立了台灣研究中 心。
加州大學台灣研究中心以推動有關台灣的學術研究,加強國際間對台灣及其 文化的瞭解,和促進世界各地對台灣文化的研究為宗旨,致力於台灣文學的英譯、以及台灣研究者間的學術交流。
台灣研究中心的運作原則定位為﹕文化研究,學術立場,國際視野,以這三 個側面構成的三稜鏡來檢視和探索台灣及其多彩多姿的文化景觀。台灣研究中心今 後努力的目標,將致力於「台灣研究基金」(Taiwan Studies Endowment)的設 立,實現包括以下三大願景的長遠任務﹕
1)定期舉辦有關台灣研究的學術活動,包括台灣文學與文化國際研 討會,台灣研究演講系列,以及台灣作家短期訪問等;
2)出版台灣文學與台灣作家的英譯作品,尤其是台灣主要作家代表 作的英譯單行本、以及中英對照的作品選集;
3)編輯出版有關台灣研究的英文著作,主要對象是美國大學研究所 的年輕學者所完成的台灣研究的學位論文或學術論文。
UCSB 台灣研究中心的這三個願景的實現,是一個長遠的目標,但我們相 信,在「賴和吳濁流台灣研究講座」的基礎上,有一天我校將成為台灣研究的專門 出版機構,一個名符其實研究台灣文學、歷史、和文化的國際中心。
我校自一九九六年以來,與文建會合作出版半年刊《台灣文學英譯叢刊》 (Taiwan Literature: English Translation Series),致力於將最近在台灣出版的有關 台灣文學的聲音介紹給英語讀者,以促進從國際視野對台灣文學的研究。經過七年 來的努力,獲得在美國、英國、加拿大和澳洲許多學者和翻譯者的協助和合作,奠 立了我校在美國學術界推動台灣文學英譯這一方面的重要地位。第十五集將於今年 七月出版。
該叢刊每一集選定一個主題,借以展示台灣文學發展的特色,到目前介紹過 的主題包括「台灣原住民文學」、「台灣本土文學的聲音」、「台灣都市文學與世 紀末」、「台灣文學與自然˙環境」、「台灣兒童文學」、「台灣女性文學」、 「台灣文學與歷史」以及「台灣文學與民俗」。
台灣研究中心準備今年開始出版《台灣作家英譯系列》(Taiwan Writers Translation Series),相信可以與目前哥倫比亞大學出版的《來自台灣的當代中 文文學》(Modern Chinese Literature from Taiwan)系列,共同將台灣文學進一 步譯介給英語讀者。
由於台灣研究是近二十年來才崛起的一個新的學術領域,而在想象和現實之 間,台灣的文學、歷史和文化的真實性構成了值得檢討和探索的學術課題,因此我 們計劃今年秋季在 UCSB 舉辦一個國際學術研討會,題為〈台灣想像與現實﹕文 學、歷史與文化探索〉,以期從國際視野和多元觀點,對台灣的歷史、文學和文化 的實體加以深入的考察。
作為第一任的「賴和吳濁流台灣研究講座教授」,在感到榮幸之餘,深覺任 重道遠。我不禁想起孔夫子的學生曾子在《論語》中所說的,似乎反映出作為聖門 弟子的慎重心情。他說﹕「士不可以不弘毅,任重而道遠。仁以為己任,不亦重 乎?死而後已,不亦遠乎?」(《論語》「泰伯」)我不敢以孔子的弟子自居,聖賢的仁與道更不是區區如我者所能望其項背, 但是曾子的心情或許仿佛,因而這個講座教授的任命,也讓我深深感到一個莊嚴的 承諾。不忘捐贈者的期許與學校的寄托,我將盡最大的努力,負起在美國學術界推 動台灣研究的重任,有生之年亦將竭盡所能完成這一職位的使命。我相信,賴和吳 濁流這兩位台灣先賢在天之靈,會給我,以及將來繼任的每一位講座教授,給予最 大的庇佑。但願 曇花暫時一現 是幻是夢 只為 生命的美麗與芳香 永遠 遺留人間.