白先勇 (1937 - )
Bai Xianyong (1937 - )
Born in Guilin, Guangxi province; ancestral home in Nanjing. He moved to Taiwan with his family in 1952. At university he initially majored in hydraulic engineering but later turned to literature. During his studies in the Foreign Literature Department of National Taiwan University, he was inspired by Professor Xia Ji'an, and started to develop what was to become a life-long relationship with literature. Together with his fellow classmates Ouyang Zi, Chen Ruoxi, and Wang Wenxing, he launched a periodical Modern Literature, in which he published his early works including Yuqing's Wife (or Jade Love) and Hei Hong (or Black Rainbow). Upon graduation from National Taiwan University, he went to the United States to study literary theory and creative writing at the University of Iowa. During this period he read extensively both Chinese literature and Western literature.
Bai's literary career can be divided into three stages. The works in the first stage are amateurish, allegory fiction. Those in the second stage depict the realities of social life. The third-stage works are characterized by his pursuit of aesthetic values in desolation, history and evanescence, with Taipei People as the representative work. Bai's works cover a broad range of topics. His innovative narrative techniques are immensely captivating. The characters under his depiction are so realistic that they seem to walk out of bare paper, the scenes in such fine detail that they seek to draw you in. The storylines too, are enchanting and capture one's heart as one flows along with them.