Sanmao (Echo Chen Ping) (1943-1991) is a Chinese/Taiwanese phenomenal celebrity writer and cultural icon of the 1970s to the 1990s. Her most well-known work to most readers is Stories of the Sahara, first published in the mid-1970s. Her legacy still continues today including various Sanmao museums in mainland China and Taiwan, as well as Ruta Sanmao La Palma on the Canary Islands, Spain. Sanmao has been praised by both Chinese and Western media that she has inspired millions of women readers to adventures and her style of writing and worldviews about love and freedom have continued to capture the hearts of readers. In the 1960s, Sanmao first studied Philosophy in Taiwan, and went to further her studies at the Complutense University of Madrid; later she returned to Taiwan to teach foreign languages and creative writing, and eventually took her own life in 1991 despite her popularity and fame. Born and raised in a devout Christian family, Sanmao had come into contact with Chinese philosophies and religions such as Buddhism, and her interrelated religious views of both the East and the West have informed much of her writings. In this paper, I discuss the importance and impact of religion on her outlooks and writings, esp. regarding the themes of the meaning of life and salvation. Currently I am working on a “Reading Sanmao” project funded by the Research Grant Council, Hong Kong, and this is part of my research.
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, UOW College Hong Kong, Hong Kong
CHEN PING, SANMAO, RELIGION, LITERATURE, AUTHOR, EAST AND WEST
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