Wang, Wenxing (王文興)(1939– ) By Chen, Lingchei Letty
Wang Wenxing is one of the most important fiction writers in the Chinese language in modern times. His experimentation with the Chinese language—pictography and syntax, narrative form, and narrating perspectives—together with his exploration of existential themes establishes him as a paramount figure in Taiwan’s literary modernism and Chinese-language literature worldwide.
Born in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, China, Wang and his family moved to Taiwan in 1946 and settled in Donggang, a small city in the south of the island. Two years later the family moved to Taipei. Wang received his BA from the Foreign Languages and Literatures Department of National Taiwan University. In 1958 Wang published his first short story, Shou ye [The Lingering Night]; a few more stories followed in the next two years. In 1960 Wang and several of his classmates, including Bai Xianyong, Chen Ruoxi and Ouyan Zi—all of whom later became important writers in Taiwan—founded the journal Xiandai wenxue [Modern Literature], which nurtured Taiwan’s modernist movement in the 1960s. After receiving his BA in 1961, Wang served in the military, as was required by law. In 1963 he attended the University of Iowa and received an MFA in creative writing.