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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Rights Statement for Archival Description
  • Acquisition Note
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information

  • Contributing Institution: USC Libraries Special Collections
    Title: Ailing Zhang papers
    Creator: Zhang, Ailing
    Creator: Hsia, Chih-tsing
    Identifier/Call Number: 3032
    Identifier/Call Number: 2040
    Identifier/Call Number: /repositories/3/resources/554
    Physical Description: 3.52 Linear Feet 7 boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1943-2004
    Abstract: Zhang Ailing (Chang Ailing, Eileen Chang) was a Chinese author whose well-known literary texts include The Rogue of the North, The Golden Cangue, and The Rice Sprout Song. Her works, considered to be among the best Chinese literature of the 1940s, examined the themes of marriage, family, love, and relationships in the social context of 1930s and 1940s Shanghai. Zhang's writing depicted paradoxical human natures, powerlessness, and sorrowful truths in everyday life without the political subtext that characterized other writers of the period. The collection consists of seven boxes of materials in English and Chinese. While the collection includes some of her early Shanghai publications, the majority of the materials relate to her life and ongoing works after she immigrated to the United States in 1955.
    Language of Material: The correspondence is in Chinese, but the manuscripts and other materials are in both English and Chinese.

    Biographical Note

    Zhang Ailing was born in Shanghai, China on September 30, 1920. At an early age, Zhang displayed an affinity for education as she learned English, studied art and music, read Chinese novels and attempted writing. In 1939, she enrolled at the University of Hong Kong to study English literature. However, her education plans were halted two years later as the Japanese occupation led to the closing of the university.
    After Zhang Ailing immigrated to the United States in 1955, she married screenwriter Ferdinand Reyher the following year and became a citizen in 1960. While in the U.S., Zhang held a few visiting teaching positions at various universities and managed to publish a few literary pieces as well. Even though she kept a low profile, towards the end of her life there was a renewed interest in Zhang's writings, particularly in Taiwan and Hong Kong. As a result, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, collections of her writings were reprinted by a large number of publishing companies, which allowed readers to rediscover the simple elegance and vivid imagery of her stories. But her impact on literature and film persists today. A number of films, television dramas, and theatrical plays have been produced based upon her compositions. Through the reprinting of and film adaptations based on her texts, such as director Ang Lee's 2007 screen adaptation of Zhang's short story "Lust, Caution", new generations are being introduced to Zhang Ailing's works posthumously. Zhang Ailing was found deceased in her apartment in California on September 8, 1995.
    The Life of Eileen Chang (Zhang Ailing) http://web.presby.edu/womenworldlit/chang/chang.html
    Zhang Ailing (张爱玲) http://shanghai.cultural-china.com/html/History-of-Shanghai/History/Historical-Figures/200810/29-854.html
    Liu Zaifu's Eileen Chang's Fiction and C. T. Hsia's A History of Modern Chinese Fiction http://mclc.osu.edu/rc/pubs/liuzaifu.htm
    New World Encyclopedia http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Eileen_Chang

    Scope and Content

    The Ailing Zhang papers consist of seven boxes of correspondence, manuscripts, newspaper clippings and journal articles, photographs, and essays, articles, and speeches (written by Zhang Ailing). The strength of the collection is found within the correspondence as this series chronicles Zhang Ailing's life and career in the United States, primarily her professional relationship with Dr. C.T. Hsia. Though a largely obscure figure in modern Chinese literature from the 1950s to the 1970s, Zhang's career was revived by Dr. Hsia who played a role in helping Zhang achieve wider recognition. The materials in the collection are written in Chinese (traditional characters) and English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Advance notice is required for access.

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Department of the East Asian Library at eal@usc.edu. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the East Asian Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Rights Statement for Archival Description

    Finding aid description and metadata are licensed under an Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.

    Acquisition Note

    The collection was acquired by Lillian Yang, former Chinese bibliographer in the East Asian Library at the University of Southern California (USC) with the help of Dr. Dominic Cheung 張錯, Professor Emeritus of Chinese and Comparative Literature at USC. The Ailing Zhang papers are comprised of materials contributed by Stephen, Mae, and Ronald Soong, Crown Press publisher, and Dr. C.T. Hsia. Dr. Dominic Cheung donated additional material in 2023 (see the series titled "Correspondence, photographs, and other material added to the collection in 2023").

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder no. or item name], Ailing Zhang papers, Collection no. 3032, East Asian Library, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

    Processing Information

    The processing of this collection was assisted by Ye Fu.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Chinese literature -- 20th century -- Archival resources
    Clippings (information artifacts)
    Zhang, Ailing -- Archives
    Hsia, Chih-tsing -- Archives