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.