Prof YU, Kwan Wai Eric    余君偉 教授
Department of Literature and Cultural Studies
(852) 2948 7351
10 Lo Ping Road, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong
Scopus ID
Research Interests

comparative literature / modern Chinese literature / film genres

Personal Profile

Before joining EdUHK in 2012, Professor Yu had served as Director of the Film Studies Centre and Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan.  Previoulsy, he taught at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and National Dong Hwa University. His research and teaching interests range from comparative literature, travel writing, to cinema studies.  His works on literature and film have appeared in scholarly journals and anthologies like Texas Studies in Literature and Language, Tamkang Review, Advances in Communication and Mass Media Research, and East Asian Cinemas. He has been Secretary General and Executive Board Member of Comparative Literature Association of R.O.C. and an editor for three academic journals.  His most recent research focuses on Hong Kong poetry in the 1970s in relation to everyday modernity.

Research Interests

comparative literature / modern Chinese literature / film genres

Research Outputs

Scholarly Books, Monographs and Chapters
Chapter in an edited book (author)
YU, K.W.E. (2011). "007 in Late Colonial Hong Kong: Technology, Masculinity, and Sly Humour in Stephen Chow's From Beijing with Love". In V.P.Y. Lee (Ed.), East Asian Cinemas: Regional Flows and Global Transformations (87-102). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
YU, K.W.E. (2010). "A Traditional Vengeful Ghost or the Machine in a Ghost? Narrative Dynamics, Horror Effects, and the Posthuman in Ringu". In S. Hessel, & M. Huppert (Eds.), Fear Itself. (97-112). Amsterdam: Rodopi.
YU, K.W.E. (2010). "High Concept and Cinematic Style in the Infernal Affairs Trilogy". In Y. Pasadeos (Ed.), Advances in Communication and Mass Media Research. (483-494). Athens: ATINER.
YU, K.W.E. (2010). "Stone Face, Noirness, and Visual Pleasure: A Preliminary Study of the Lone Hitman Film". In Y.C. Lee, & P.C. Feng (Eds.), Beyond Tunnel Vision. (123-148). Taipei: Bookman.
YU, K.W.E. (2007). "Fantasy, Predestination, and Iterability: The Myth of Love in Dracula and Message in a Bottle". In Y.H. Chou, & P.C. Feng (Eds.), Visual Modern and its Other. (255-279). Taipei: Bookman.

Journal Publications
Publication in refereed journal
余君偉 (2021)。 從許冠文作品看1970年代香港喜劇電影的現代化、諧星形象及觀賞心理 (Modernization of Hong Kong Comedy Film in the 1970s, Comedic Persona, and Psychology of Viewing: A Preliminary Study Based on Michael Hui Koon-man’s Works)。 高雄師大學報: 人文與藝術類 (Kaohsiung Normal University Journal: Arts and Humanities),51,1-19。
余君偉 (2019)。 論一九七零年代香港城市詩的特色:以舒巷城、羈魂及梁秉鈞為例 (Hong Kong Urban Poetry in the 1970s: Shu Xiangcheng, Ji Hun, and Leung Ping-kwan as Prime Examples)。 東海中文學報 (Tunghai Journal of Chinese Literature),37,83-128。
余君偉 (2017)。 西詩及西詩中譯對漢語新詩的影響:以馮至與卞之琳為例(The Influence of Western Poetry and its Chinese Translation on Modern Chinese Poetry: Feng Zhi and Bian Zhilin as Examples )。 成大中文學報 (Journal of Chinese Literature of National Cheng Kung University),59,145-180。
余君偉 (2016)。 1940年代「九葉派」詩論——以袁可嘉為例 (Poetic Theory of the "Nine Leaves School" in the 1940s: Yuan Kejia as a Prime Example)。 政大中文學報 (Bulletin of the Department of Chinese Literature at National Chengchi University),26,276-301。
余君偉 (2015)。 李碧華《胭脂扣》中的禮物交換與愛情(Gift Exchange and Love in Lillian Lee’s _Rouge_)。 中外文學 (Chung Wai Literary Quarterly),44(4),9-36。
余君偉 (2015)。 雕像與流水:論馮至對里爾克詩風的接受和轉化(Of Statues and Flowing Water: Feng Zhi’s Reception and Transformation of Rilke’s Poetic Style)。 中國現代文學(Modern Chinese Literature),28,91-108。
Yu, E. (2015). "Ideas, Emotions, and Poetic Devices: Philosophical Lyricism in Feng Zhi’s Sonnets". Quarterly Journal of Chinese Studies, 3(3), 1-16.
YU, K.W.E. (2012). "Obsessive Love, Mourning, and Objects: On the Novel and Film Adaptation of Crying Out Love, In the Center of the World". Sun Yat-sen Journal of Humanities, 32, 145-161.
YU, K.W.E. (2010). "Farce, Pathos, and Absurdity in Stephen Chow's Film Comedies: From Beijing with Love and CJ7 Reconsidered". Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies, 36(2), 213-241.
YU, K.W.E. (2009). "The Civilizing Mission, Social Sympathy, and Self-Preservation: On Alicia Bewicke Little’s Trips in China and the Ethics of Travel". Review of English and American Literature, 15, 121-146.
YU, K.W.E. (2008). "Hospitality, Debt, and the China Question: Thomas De Quincey's Rhetoric of Empire". Sun Yat-sen Journal of Humanities, 25, 25-40.
YU, K.W.E. (2006). "Productive Fear: Labor, Sexuality, and Mimicry in Bram Stoker's Dracula". Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 48(2), 145-170.

Conference Papers
Invited conference paper
YU, K.W.E. (2017, May). Programme Outcomes Assessment: Principles and Examples. Keynote speech presented at QESS Symposium: Assuring and Enhancing Educational Quality for Post-secondary Education, Hong Kong.
余君偉 (2013,10). 〈物品、交換、人倫關係──論李碧華《胭脂扣》中的愛情〉。第十屆東亞學者現代中文文學國際學術研討會,香港。
Yu, K.W.E. (2011, October). “Wonder and Sly Humor in Emily Hahn’s Writings on the Congo.”. International Conference in Honor of Professor Liang Shih-chiu, Taipei, Taiwan.
Refereed conference paper
Yu, K.W.E. (2017, June). Learning Hong Kong History through “Place Poems” of the 1970s. Paper presented at The 2017 Association of Chinese & Comprative Literature Conference, Hong Kong.
余君偉 (2016,5). 西詩及西詩中譯對漢語新詩的影響:以馮至及卞之琳為例。第7屆文學傳播與接受國際學術研討會,台北。
Yu, K.W.E (2014, December). "Everyday Modernity in Hong Kong Horror". Hong Kong As Method International Conference, Hong Kong.
余君偉 (2014,5). 〈論也斯的食物詩學〉。第6屆文學傳播與接受國際學術研討會,新竹, 台灣。
Yu, K.W.E. (2013, December). "Professionalism and the Body in Hong Kong jiangshi Films: From the Mr. Vampire Cycle to Tsui Hark’s Vampire Hunters". Envisioning Chinese Cinemas in the 21st Century: The Taiwan Symposium, Hsinchu, Taiwan.
Yu, K.W.E. (2010, November). “Obsessive Love, Object, and Mourning: On ‘Pure Love’ (jun’ai) Films”. Literary Studies in the New Century, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Yu, K.W.E. (2010, May). "Cultural Negotiations and Generic Exchange in the Infernal Affairs Film Trilogy". The 8th Annual International Conference on Communication and Mass Media, Athens, Greece.
Yu, K.W.E. (2009, April). “Feel my Pain and Perish: Aesthetic Features and Moral Challenges of Ju-on: The Grudge”. B for Bad Cinema, Melbourne, Australia.
Yu, K.W.E. (2008, September). “A Traditional Vengeful Ghost or the Machine in a Ghost? Narrative Dynamics and Horror Effects in the Ring Cycle”. The 1st Global Conference -- Fear, Horror and Terror, Oxford, UK.
Yu, K.W.E. (2008, June). “Opening the Self at the Moments of Unease? The Ethics of Travel in Alicia Bewick Little’s and Emily Hahn’s Writings”. Travel Writing: Spirit of Place and Discover of the Self, Corfu, Greece.

All Other Outputs
Other outputs
余君偉, 王良和, 關夢南 (2018)。 詩, 中港情結, 生活化書寫 (Poetry, Mainland China-Hong Kong Complex, Daily Life Writing: An Interview with Kwan Muk-han). 《聲韻詩刊》(Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine) 43, A23-A27。香港
余君偉, 王良和, 葉輝 (2017)。 文壇「多面手」--與葉輝對談(An All-rounder on the Literary Scene: Interview with Yip Fai)。香港: 《香港文學》(Hong Kong Literature Monthly), 393, 76-80。


Language Enhancement at EdUHK and Beyond: Fostering a Community of Practice on Technology-enhanced Language Learning and Teaching
This project intends to achieve the following objectives: 1). Identify creative and effective use of technologies in language learning and teaching (English / Cantonese / Putonghua / other modern languages); 2). Investigate how such technologies help to enhance students’ language learning and teachers’ language teaching through guided self-reflection and critical evaluations of their technology-enhanced language learning/teaching practices; 3). Build a Community of Practice on technology-enhanced language learning and teaching among tertiary students and academic/teaching staff and motivate them to use technologies in language learning and teaching; 4). Discuss language learning related issues (e.g., English/Chinese academic writing, corpus-based language learning, etc.) and offer pedagogical suggestions on technology-enhanced language learning and teaching for both students and teachers; 5). Sustain the community members’ interests in using technologies in language learning and teaching through regular sharing of members’ successful experiences and invited talks given by local and overseas experts in the field of technology enhanced language learning and teaching, and through the organization of an international conference on technology-enhanced language learning and teaching.
Project Start Year: 2020, Principal Investigator(s): WANG, Lixun (YU, Kwan Wai, Eric as Co-Principal Investigator)
Engaging Everyday Modernity: Hong Kong Poetry in the 1970s
The project investigates the poetic treatments of everyday modernity in 1970s Hong Kong, focusing on the thematic nuances and literary styles concerned in the wider context of the rapidly changing local society.
Project Start Year: 2016, Principal Investigator(s): YU, Kwan Wai Eric 余君偉
Love and Death in Popular Cinema
Love and death are two of the most important human concerns and also two closely related themes in literary and cultural studies. Although there have been quite a few notable book-length studies of love and death in literature, a comprehensive approach to both themes in the cinema with a view to exploring their subtle interconnections has yet to be conducted. To narrow down the scope in consideration of manageability, this project targets specifically at the representations of love and death in popular Hollywood and Asian films, and by ‘Asian’ the corpus of studies is further limited mainly to Hong Kong, Japanese and South Korean productions. Rendered below are 4 major topics covered by this research, and the objectives of this project are to explicate these 4 different themes in depth and to explore any interrelationships among them –

1) the rhetoric of love
2) love, death, and time travel
3) obsession, mourning, and materiality
4) ghost lovers

Project Start Year: 2012, Principal Investigator(s): YU, Kwan Wai Eric 余君偉
The Generic Features of Wuxia Film and the Problem of Transculturation (funded by National Science Council).
Wuxia film is a major genre in Chinese-language cinema. Although wuxia production in the last decade can hardly rival the golden age of the 1960s, because of transnational cooperation in terms of capital, talents and so forth some recent big-budget wuxia films enjoyed great success and became classic examples of the globalization of the film industry. This proposed study of the wuxia genre is divided into 2 stages as follows –

I. The initial stage: studying the evolving generic features of the genre
My focuses will fall on:
a) 3 classic scenes: namely, the bamboo grove fight, encounter in an inn, and the duel
b) The historical development of cinematic skills and related technologies: focusing on the classic scenes below, I will trace such developments from the 1960s to the late 1990s, including in my research will be such things as mise-en-scene, special effects and other technological aspects of film making (including those found in post-production)
c) Narrative structure: a preliminary structuralist approach followed by a more poststructuralist and psychoanalytically-informed exploration of the curious “narrative logic” involved
d) Themes: of the various themes I will pay particular attention to the idea of “xia” or chivalry, detailing the changing meanings concerned in the wake of East-West cultural conflict and interchange

II. The difficulty of “transculturation”

I am especially interested in how, because of differences in aesthetics and ideologies, a wuxia film cannot circulate freely across cultural boundaries. Having worked out the generic features of the genre, I will examine the success or failure of a number of post-Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon wuxia films which deliberately aim at a more global audience. Through such examples, I wish to find out what aesthetic and cultural factors account for the facility and which for the difficulty of transnational filmic circulation. I hope my concrete examples in reception will contribute to the often abstract and theoretically-oriented current debates on globalization of the cultural industry.

Project Start Year: 2011, Principal Investigator(s): YU, Kwan Wai Eric 余君偉
Travel, Ethics, and Genre: Emily Hahn's Travel Writings (funded by National Science Council).
The object of this study is the travel writing in four books by Emily Hahn (1905-1997), “a great lost American literary treasure,” according to The New Yorker. This project includes two different and yet ultimately related aspects. One is the so-called “ethics of travel,” a term borrowed from Syed Manzurul Islam, which encompasses two different dimensions. The first focuses on the moral difficulties and ethical challenges facing the traveling subject when encountering a very different culture. While the traveler may strongly feel such predicaments or repress them thanks to psychological defense mechanisms, we as critics might also be puzzled by the difficulties concerned, though we might be inspired to explore the ethical nuances of the knotty issues concerned and gain some insights not readily available to the traveler. When we suspect that the traveler-narrator is lying in a part of his or her travelogue and wonder if such breaches of truthfulness entails something immoral, then our discussion of the “ethics of travels” has already departed from the more conventional kind of thematic or content studies and moved to a “meta-level” concerning different writing styles, generic norms, and the development of travel literature in history.

This project seeks especially to explore the second kind of “ethics of travel,” that is, the ethical implications of travel writing as such. This concern goes well with my persistent interest in the changing writing style in the history of Western travel literature. Using Hahn’s writing in the 1930s and 40s as a prime example, I wish to sketch the developmental trends of travel literature from the more scientific, realistic kind in the nineteenth century, through a kind of more “literary” mode still adhering to Realist conventions, to the more recent “postmodern” writing which deliberately confuses fiction and reality. Furthermore, I wish to probe into some ethical significance and aesthetic effects of the various writing styles which defy the earlier norms.

Project Start Year: 2010, Principal Investigator(s): YU, Kwan Wai Eric 余君偉
Popular Film Genres, Cultural Translation and Guilty Pleasures: Studies in Hitman and Undercover Films (funded by National Science Council).
This is a two-year project on gangster and crime films, focusing on hitman films and undercover films respectively. The main object of enquiry is Asian films, particularly Hong Kong productions, with an emphasis on cross-cultural contacts and generic exchange. The hitman and the undercover agent are two of the most marginal figures in the gangster and crime genre. As members of the gang world, they are feared and despised by the public and may try to hide their true identities in front of ordinary people. They may be harassed and even harmed by the police owing to their gangster identity; inside the underworld, they may as well be betrayed and prosecuted by fellow gangsters. In short, they find themselves at the interstice between the society of law and the land ruled by gangsters, where they are like walking on a tightrope and may fall at any moment. The goal of my project is two-folded. I begin with the basic work of finding out the generic features of the two “sub-genres” in terms of form (iconography, plot structure, etc) and content (usual themes and motifs). Then I will explore the deeper aesthetic significance and social meanings of each.

* The first year: hitman films
1) Dress code, weaponry and masculinities --
Discuss how the dress code and the mastery of weapons and skills of killing help construct the hitman’s masculinity. Investigate the relation between such iconographic features as the shots showing the “caressing” of guns and murders scenes and the hitman’s professionalism which entails some sort of asceticism.

2) The spectator’s guilty pleasures and ethical concerns –
Discuss what other forms of pleasure such films offer, in addition to the sadistic pleasure of identifying with the merciless killings.

3) Generic exchange and cultural translation –
Discuss how in the wake of cross-cultural generic exchange, new meanings are born in new local contexts.

* The second year: undercover films
1) Define the generic feature of Hong Kong undercover films, exploring their relations with Hollywood crime films and looking for incidences of cultural translation.

2) Discuss the conflict between the police work ethic and the gangster in regard to the undercover agent’s identity crisis. Explore various forms of viewer’s pleasures in undercover films.

Project Start Year: 2008, Principal Investigator(s): YU, Kwan Wai Eric 余君偉
The Tourist, the Flaneur, and Self-Reflexivity in Travel Literature: A Theoretical Enquiry (funded by National Science Council).
The “tourist” and the “traveler” is a pair of important binary opposites in travel culture. The former is imbued with such derogatory meanings as superficiality, routines, and mass consumptions, while the latter implies adventures, individuality, cultivation, and growth or enlightenment through traveling. This distinction is more a matter of how an individual traveler makes sense of the meaning of one’s own travel than of objectivity reality. In his sociological study of tourism, John Urry has put forth the famous theory of the “tourist gaze,” emphasizing the centrality of visual consumption in contemporary tourism. To Urry, the flaneur roaming the nineteenth century Paris prefigured the modern tourist. Yet in the fields of urban studies and literary criticism, critics have made use of Walter Benjamin’s theory of flanerie to promote a kind of positive way of urban spatial practice – wandering and observing the familiar cityscape with a critical eye, catching the ephemeral events in the guise of leisurely stroll in defiance of the capitalist logic of hard work and addictive consumption.

Urry also points out that ever since the 1980s, the tourist industry has gradually turned from standardized Fordist mass tourism toward much more diversified and individualized post-Fordism. I claim that the recent surge of in-depth, personalized travel guidebooks are indeed part of this post-Fordist, postmodern tendency. One also sees such traits as the blurring of the distinction between “high” literary travelogues and “low” travel guidebooks, and the rise of self-consciousness and self-reflexivity in travel writing, such as the appearance of meta-travel writings. My concern is not “postmodernism” per se but contemporary travel writers’ self-reflexivity regarding the history of travel and travel writing (including the recent generic changes). I argue that contemporary writers must be keenly aware of the rise of in-depth guidebooks and related TV programs. In order to retain their authority or reliability, they feel an urgent need to go beyond the “mere tourist” and compete with the travel “professionals.” In this light, I wish my theoretical discussion of the various meanings and practices of tourists and flaneurs might offer a new perspective to study how contemporary writers travel and write about their travel experience. My particular focus will fall on how travelers (whether labeled tourists or flaneurs) watch and make sense of what they see while walking the city and with what purposes or attitudes.

Project Start Year: 2007, Principal Investigator(s): YU, Kwan Wai Eric 余君偉