Transition as Dysrhythmia: Luo Yijun, Generational Logic, and Taiwanese Post-postmodernism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter


Amongst the world’s political and social transitions in the twentieth century, the island nation of Taiwan (Republic of China) is often held up as a model example of a transition from an authoritarian state to a liberal democracy. Yet transitions are never ‘finished’ on the ground as they persist in memories, so- cial contradictions, and unfinished calls for justice. This chapter examines how the Taiwanese author Luo Yijun’s short story collection The Red Ink Gang (1993) and full-length novel An Elegy (2001) challenge and complicate the teleological narrative of Taiwan’s democratic transition by presenting generational memories and aesthetic styles as counter-narratives. I argue that Luo Yijun’s aesthetic ap- proach to the transition can be best described with the concept of dysrhythmia: a temporal disturbance in the biological clock that points to an individual or collec- tive feeling of unease, of being left behind, or the perception that a society is out of joint with its ideological and material developments. Taiwan’s conditions de- scribed by dysrhythmia, then, draws it into the spheres of kinship with other postsocialist, postcommunist, and postdictatorship locales and regions. Finally, Luo Yijun’s work positions itself as a critical corrective to the prevailing aesthetic that emerged during Taiwan’s historical moment of transition – postmodernist literature and culture. Luo’s writing can thus be seen to embody the inchoate cat- egory of ‘post-postmodernism,’ a placeholder for the yet un-periodizable and di- verse aesthetics that appeared in Taiwan and the world after the late twentieth- century transitions coasted towards its caesurae.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRemembering Transitions
Subtitle of host publicationLocal Revisions and Global Crossings in Culture and Media
EditorsKsenia Robbe
Place of PublicationBerlin
Publisherde Gruyter
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-11-070779-3, 978-3-11-070790-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-11-070770-0
StatePublished - Sep 18 2023


  • Memory
  • Transitions
  • Media
  • Culture
  • Literature


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