||This thesis examines how Zhang Yi-Xuan intervenes in contemporary lesbian, queer, and feminist emotional politics in Taiwan through her writing of mixed feelings and entangled emotions. As a lesbian feminist in the 90s, Zhang Yi-Zuan in The Broken Hous(2001) and The Best Hours(2003) glances backward to her youth days in the 90s; therefore, the two collections could be perceived as the tunnels of time into lesbian and feminist politics and their interrelations. These works not only record the lives and intimacy of young female students in feminist study clubs across university campuses, but also represent various historical emotions, such as lesbian pleasure and melancholia as well as feminist trauma and pleasure, etc. Regardless of the dense historical values of Zhang’s works, they have long been ignored by the academia. In addition to this, most critics read Zhang’s texts in terms of literary and cultural theories instead of relocating them back into their specific lesbian-feminist historical context. Hence, this thesis aims to historically examine these lesbian-feminist emotions represented within Zhang’s works and their mixtures and entanglements, to analyze the political significance behind this very entanglement of emotions.
Chapter one “Spoiled Erotic Stories” looks into how Zhang in “The Erotic Story” and “Within the Summer of Ashes” inter-breeds melancholic school girl romance genre and lesbian erotica which corresponds to lesbians’ pleasurable reverse discourse in the 90s. Zhang’s juxtaposition of melancholia and pleasure not only further complicates contemporary lesbian and queer emotional politics but also offers a possibility to accommodate both melancholia and pleasure and render the conflicting historical emotions not necessarily exclusive.
Chapter two “Feminist Trauma and Pleasure” deals with how Zhang entangles gender-based feminists’ politics of trauma and sexuality feminists’ politics of pleasure in “Yin Ren Qi Nu” and “Within the Summer of Ashes.” Through contexualizing the turn of feminist emotional politics in Taiwan and the political effects of exclusion it engenders and close-reading how the two works intertwines the two camps’ conflicting emotional politics and rhetoric, I argue that Zhang’s writing of entangled emotions could be understood as younger generation of feminists’ assimilation and re-conception of two camps of forerunner’s politics. Different form gender-based feminists’ clinging to biological women’s sexual trauma, younger generation of feminists, under the influence of feminist sex wars, had already developed an emotional politics that finds pleasure in trauma and remembers/re-members trauma in bodily pleasure. Nonetheless, young feminists’ erotic (sexual) explorations and their voices calling for the alliance of different feminist tactics were seriously condemned by gender-based feminists. Zhang’s writing of entangled emotions perhaps could be understood as younger generation of feminists’ dilemma in taking political stances with ease.
In the concluding part of this thesis, I analyze the historical significance and importance behind Zhang’s writing of mixed feelings and entangled emotions and the possible problems inherent in her politics. Although Zhang seems to occupy a problematic middle path, her writing of mixed feelings and entangled emotions not only constitutes as archives of historical feelings, but also offers contemporary lesbian, queer, and feminist emotional politics a possibility to pursue sexual pleasure and simultaneously remember/re-member sexual melancholia/trauma.