The Ordinary Fashion Show: Eileen Chang's Profane Illumination and Mnemonic Art

Edited by Kam Louie

in Eileen Chang

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9789888083794
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9789882209060 | DOI:
The Ordinary Fashion Show: Eileen Chang's Profane Illumination and Mnemonic Art

Show Summary Details


Eileen Chang's fiction and essays show us an intricate relationship between the quotidian, gender and literary imagination. Similar to what Walter Benjamin calls “profane illumination,” her literary inspirations are drawn from the materialistic and anthropological dimensions in the mundane realm of everyday life. On the one hand, her feminine writings about clothing display Shanghai as a phantasmagoria in the perpetual process of innovation and destruction. On the other hand, her secular reflections can be traced to an ancient memory of Chinese antiquity without the celebration of a sense of youthfulness and freshness that characterizes Western modernist literature. Questioning the gendered space of everyday life, her writings, which deal with both the historical and the philosophical, destabilize the binary thinking of female sensibility and masculine sublimity.

Keywords: Profane illumination; The Quotidian; Fashion consciousness; Mnemonic art; Modernity; Female sensibility; Masculine sublimity

Chapter.  7572 words. 

Subjects: Literature

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Hong Kong University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.