Project Details
Funding Scheme : General Research Fund
Project Number : 18600921
Project Title(English) : The Lyrical Tradition in Hong Kong from the 1970s through the 1990s 
Project Title(Chinese) : 香港的抒情傳統1970 - 1990 
Principal Investigator(English) : Dr Au, Chung To 
Principal Investigator(Chinese) : 區仲桃 
Department : Department of Literature and Cultural Studies
Institution : The Education University of Hong Kong
Co - Investigator(s) :
Panel : Humanities, Social Sciences
Subject Area : Humanities and Arts
Exercise Year : 2021 / 22
Fund Approved : 136,000
Project Status : On-going
Completion Date : 31-12-2022
Abstract as per original application
During a panel on comparative literature at the Association for Asian Studies in 1971, Chen Shih-hsiang said that the “Chinese literary tradition as a whole is a lyrical tradition,” offering another perspective for interpreting the tradition. The Chinese lyrical tradition emphasizes expressing deep feelings (or embodying lyricism) in various art forms. Chen’s provocative pronouncement initiated debate within research communities in Greater China. Due to its unique historical background, Hong Kong’s lyrical works, which are different from those of mainland China and Taiwan, have not received the attention they deserve from academia. The PI (Principal Investigator) proposes that there is a corpus of fiction and films that emerged in the 1970s, flourished in the 1980s, and diminished in the late 1990s that helped establish a lyrical tradition in Hong Kong. The inspiration for these Hong Kong lyrical works comes from such traditional popular culture as Naamyam (a traditional Cantonese folk music performing art) and Cantonese opera, which was most popular among the influx of migrants from Canton Province to Hong Kong in the 1950s. These traditional popular cultures inherited lyrical elements, namely forms and themes, directly from classical Chinese literature, which became a collective memory for older generations in Hong Kong. The local consciousness of Hong Kong began to rise in the 1970s, followed by the Sino-British negotiations and the Handover in 1997, which triggered an identity issue. Hong Kongers have long suffered an identity crisis, partly due to the fact that colonial rule did little to nurture Hong Kongers to develop an identity. In response to this identity crisis, Hong Kong writers and film directors drew inspiration from Naamyam and Cantonese opera, an important part of Hong Kongers’ collective memory, and created a body of lyrical works. It is understood that collective memory can help construct an imagined home, thus provide the framework for an identity. This project aims to develop the concept of a Hong Kong lyrical tradition by systematically studying its major features through examining the two lyrical themes—lamenting unfulfilled love and struggling between love and politics—embedded in Hong Kong lyrical works created from the late 1970s to the 1990s. The PI suggests that the two lyrical themes identified in Naamyam and Cantonese opera are also embodied in the Hong Kong lyrical works, which enable Hong Kongers to connect to their ancestors across time and space, hence an imagined community and an identity is established.
自從陳世驤於1971年在「美國亞洲研究學會」比較文學討論組的致辭時指出,相對於歐洲的史詩傳統「中國的抒情傳統卓然顯現」後, 抒情傳統論述在歐美及中港台的學術界引起了關注和爭論,至今已成為中國文學眾多研究路徑的其中一種。由於香港曾經作為英國的殖民地的關係,所以香港的抒情作品呈現出和中國大陸和台灣不同的特徵,但香港的抒情傳統特色一直備受忽略。 是項計劃提出香港自1970年到1990年間創作了一批小說及電影,有助建立香港的抒情傳統。這些作品的創作靈感主要來自五十年代,流行於廣東移民間的傳統通俗文化,例如南音及粵劇。這些傳統文化無論在形式和主題方面都直接承襲了古典中國文學的特色,成為一代香港人的集體記憶。事實上,長期的殖民統治無助建立香港人的身份。香港自七十年代開始提倡本土意識,緊接著的中英談判及九七回歸,引發了香港人對身份問題的思考。為了應對香港人的身份問題,香港作家及電影導演從老一輩香港人的集體記憶,即南音和粵劇裡,獲得靈感,創作了一批抒情作品。這些集體記憶有助香港人建立一個想像的家園,為他們身份的建立提供了一個框架。 本研究計劃旨在建立一個香港的抒情傳統。要達到這個目的,是項研究將透過系統地分析香港抒情作品(1970 - 1990)中的兩個常見主題 — 哀嘆愛情的不如意,及在愛情和政治中掙扎 — 說明這兩個在南音及粵劇裡經常出現的主題,有助香港人跨越時空,和他們的祖先連結在一起,建立一個想像的家園及建構香港人的身份。
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