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Preliminary Guide to the Pai Hsien-Yung Collection
Uarch FacPap 29  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Pai Hsien-Yung Collection,
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1971-1997
    Collection Number: Uarch FacPap 29
    Creator: Pai Hsien-Yung
    Extent: 5.5 linear feet (11 boxes, 13 videos, and 3 posters)
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Department of Special Collections
    Santa Barbara, California 93106-9010
    Physical Location: Boxes 1-11 (Annex 2); Videotapes (Performing Arts); Posters (Map Case 19/11)
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions


    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    Pai Hsien-Yung Collection. Uarch FacPap 29. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Donation by author, 1997.


    Pai Hsien-Yung, (Kenneth Pai) is a UCSB Professor Emeritus and an internationally recognized Chinese author.
    Born in 1937 in Guilin, China, Pai received his B.A. from National Taiwan University in 1961 and his M.F.A. from the International Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1965. From 1965 to 1993 he taught Chinese language and literature in the East Asian Studies Program at UCSB.
    Pai has written 34 short stories and one novel, plus numerous other articles and prose pieces. He is one of the founders and the main caretaker of the most influential modern Chinese literary magazine, Modern Literature (Xian dai wen xue). His works have been translated into English, French, Korean, Japanese, and German and other languages.
    Son of a high-ranking general in the Chinese Nationalist government, Pai is best known for his keen insight into the lives of the aristocrats who retreated with the Nationalist government to Taiwan in 1949, when Chinese Communists took over mainland China. His depiction of characters, according to many critics, has attained a level of literary achievement attained only by a handful of his contemporaries. Some of his best-known works are available in English, under the title Wandering in the Garden, Waking from a Dream: Tales of Taipei Characters, published by Indiana University Press in 1982.
    Pai is a very studious and careful writer. His language, enriched by a solid foundation in Chinese classic literature, is poetic and precise. Few people, however, realize how much time and effort he puts into crafting his works. The novel Crystal Boy, published by the Gay Sunshine Press of San Francisco in 1990, was the result of ten years of hard work. It was completely revised more than five times. In each revision Pai rewrote the entire work by hand. This process is clearly reflected in the manuscripts, which he has donated.
    Crystal Boy and Wandering in the Garden, as well as several other works, have been made into movies and plays and a number of his other works are in the process of being adapted for stage and film productions. Pai Hsien-yung currently lives in Taiwan and still maintains a residence in Santa Barbara where he occasionally visits. He continues to write and do research on a number of literary topics, his current work being centered on the promotion of kunqu, a traditional form of Chinese opera.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Pai Hsien-Yung Collection was donated by the author to the UCSB Department of Special Collections in 1997. It includes an extensive assortment of printed works, literary manuscripts and other material relating to his novels and short stories as well as plays, and films adapted from his work. There is also an assortment of academic works, dissertations, journal articles and papers, centered on his works.
    Note: Printed material from the collection is cataloged separately and includes novels, short stories, and essays by Pai, as well as contributions to anthologies, both in Chinese and in translation. Special Collections holdings also include copies of Xian dai wen xue, the literary magazine described above. These materials may be searched on Pegasus, the UCSB Library's online catalog.
    The collection is organized into the following series: Writings by Pai, Materials about Pai, Audio/Visual Materials, Correspondence