Thu, Apr 16, 2009 - Page 4 News List

University library accepts manuscripts from writer

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A biography of Taiwanese communist Hsieh Hsueh-hung is displayed at an exhibition at National Chengchi University in Taipei yesterday alongside manuscripts donated to the university by the author, Chen Fang-ming.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Taiwanese writer Chen Fang-ming (陳芳明) yesterday donated manuscripts of his works to National Chengchi University.

Many of the works document the history of the dangwai movement.

“I have thrown away a number of things, but I never throw away my manuscripts and my books,” Chen said during an inaugural ceremony for an exhibition of his Taiwanese literary works.

“So they have traveled as far as I have,” he said.

“I have been a vagrant for years and so have my works,” he said. “Preserving these manuscripts in a way is equivalent to preserving my memory.”

Chen, former director of the Democratic Progressive Party’s Department of Culture and Communications, was an active participant in the dangwai anti-government movement in the 1980s and 1990s and a long-time advocate for Taiwanese literature. Preserving his manuscripts can be seen as a move to preserve documents related to the movement, school officials said..

The majority of the manuscripts donated to the university — ­estimated at 1,500 pieces and 3 million characters — were written in the 1980s and the 1990s.

Topics of the works include Taiwanese consciousness, a number of academic papers on the 228 Incident, Taiwan’s democratic development and the nation’s foreign relations.

Manuscripts written before 1987 while Chen was writing for a dangwai magazine called Formosa Weekly in the US, have mostly been destroyed.

“I had to destroy the manuscripts right after I finished them when I was participating in the political movement before 1987 for fear that I would be in grave danger,” Chen said.

“Because of the political scene back then, I had to use about 30 pen names,” he said.

When asked what his next goal would be, Chen said he expected to finish a book on the history of Taiwanese literature by the end of this year.

To better preserve Taiwanese literary works, Liu Jyi-shane (劉吉軒) curator of the university library, said the school planned to build a temperature and humidity-controlled facility.

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