Now back in print, these witty, insightful ssays on fashion, cinema, wartime, and everyday life demonstrate why Eileen Chang was and is a major icon of twentieth-century Chinese literature.
Eileen Chang is one of the most celebrated and influential modern Chinese novelists and cultural critics of the twentieth century.
First published in 1945 and as beloved as her fiction in the Chinese-speaking world, Written on Water
collects Chang's reflections on art, literature, war, urban culture, and her own life as a writer and woman, set amid the sights and sounds of wartime Shanghai and Hong Kong.
In a style at once meditative and vibrant, Chang writes of friends, colleagues, and teachers turned soldiers or wartime volunteers, and of her own experiences as a part-time nurse. She also reflects on Chinese cinema, the aims of the writer, and the popularity of the Peking Opera.
Chang engages the reader with her sly and sophisticated humor, conversational voice, and intense fascination with the subtleties of everyday life. In her examination of Shanghai food, culture, and fashions, she not only reveals but also upends prevalent attitudes toward women, presenting a portrait of a daring and cosmopolitan woman bent on questioning pieties and enjoying the pleasures of modernity, even as the world convulses in war and a revolution looms.