Lu, Xun, 1881-1936.

real name: Zhou Shuren or Chou Shu-jen
also: Lu Hsun
known as "Gorky of China"


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Lu Xun, a great author
http://www-hsc.usc.edu/~gallaher/luxun/luxun.html
 

http://www.54youth.com.cn/gb/paper111/4/class011100001/hwz135773.htm
Lu Xun, The father of modern Chinese literature

Lu Xun is called the father of modern Chinese literature. Lu Xun was born in Shaoxing of Zhejiang Province. In his childhood, he studied in the family school, laying a solid foundation for the study of literature.

In 1898 when he studied in Nanjing, he began to learn the New Learning and was influenced by Darwinism.In 1902, he went to Japan to study, majoring in medicine.Later he gave up medicine and began to engage in literary writing, hoping that literature and art could reform the spirit of the Chinese nation. After his return to China in 1909, he taught in Hangzhou and Shaoxing. After the 1911 Revolution, he held a post in the Ministing of Education, and concurrently taught in Beijing University and Women's Normal College. In 1918, he published his famous story  ¡§A Madman¡¦s Diary¡¨ in vernacular Chinese for the first time in his pen name of Lu Xun, ruthlessly attacking the feudal ethical code. At the time he got to know Marxism and took part in the editing of ¡§New Youth¡¨, a progressive journal, and soon became the colour-bearer of the May 4th Movement of the New Culture.

Later he published famous short stories like ¡§The True Story of A Q¡¨and large numbers of prose writings and essays which were the great achievements of the literary revolution,and for that he won worldwide reputations.

Meanwhile, he joined efforts with other revolutionary and progressive writers in the founding of literary societies, making great contribution to bringing up large numbers of young writers.

His last 10-year glorious struggle began since then, and he gradually accepted Marxism and transferred himself from a revolutionary democrat to a great Communist fighter.

In 1930, he sponsored and led the Left-Wing Writers League and became the colour-bearer of the League. He left behind himself large numbers of writings that amount to 10 million words.

In 1938, ¡§The Complete Works of Lu Xun¡¨was published in 20volumes for the first time. After the founding of New China, his works and translations have been published in various forms, like ¡§The Complete Works of Lu Xun¡¨ in 10volumes, ¡§Collected Translations by Lu Xun¡¨ in 10 volumes, and in 1986 a new edition of  ¡§The Complete Works of Lu Xun¡¨ in 16 volumes was published by the People¡¦s Literature Press.

Lu Xun died on October 19, 1936 in Shanghai.
 
 

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition.  2001.
http://www.bartleby.com/65/lu/LuXun.html
Lu Xun

or Lu Hsun, 1881¡V1936, Chinese writer, pen name of Chou Shu-jen. In 1902, he traveled to Japan on a government scholarship, eventually enrolling at Sendai Medical School. Troubled by what he saw as China¡¦s spiritual malaise, he soon abandoned medicine to pursue literature. He returned to China, where he published translations of Western works and held a post in the ministry of education. During the period 1918¡V26, he wrote 25 highly influential stories in vernacular Chinese. His works include ¡§The Diary of a Madman¡¨ (1918), written in the voice of a man believing he is held captive by cannibals; ¡§The True Story of Ah Q¡¨ (1921¡V22), the chronicle of a peasant who views personal failure as success even up to his execution, exposing the elitism of the 1911 republican revolution and a tendency to ignore grim realities; and ¡§The New Year¡¦s Sacrifice¡¨ (1924), which portrays oppression of women. From 1926, Lu wrote satirical essays and served as head of the League of Leftwing Writers.
See translations by G. and H. Yang (4 vol., 1956¡V60) and W. A. Lyell (1990); studies by T. A. Hsia (1968), W. A. Lyell (1976), V. I. Semanov (1980), and L. O. Lee (1987).
 
 

from Books and Writers

Lu Xun (1881-1936) - name also translated Lu Hs?n; pseudonym of Zhou Shuren

Short-story writer, essayist, critic, and literary theorist who is considered one of the greatest figures in the 20th-century Chinese literature. In the West Lu Xun is chiefly known for his stories, which have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Lu Xun's acclaimed short stories appeared in three collections between the years 1923 and 1935. He also produced sixteen volumes of essays, reminiscences, prose poetry, historical tales, some sixty classical-style poems, and a dozen volumes of scholarly research, and numerous translations. Lu Xun never wrote a novel.

'"You are a scholar and you have been to the outside world and learned of many things. I want to ask you about something." Her lusterless eyes suddenly lighted up as she advanced a few steps towards me, lowered her voice, and said in a very earnest and confidential manner, "It is this: is there another life after this one?"' (from 'The Widow')

Lu Xun was born in Shaoxing, in Zhejiang province, into an impoverished but educated gentry family. He received a traditional education before he attended Jiangnan Naval Academy (1898-99) and School of Railway and Mines (1899-1902) in Nanjing. In 1902 went to Japan where he studied Japanese language and then medicine at Sendai Provincial Medical School. In 1906 he dropped out of the school to devote himself entirely to writing. He studied privately and returned in 1909 to China. In 1910-11 he was a teacher in Shaoxing. From 1912 to 1926 he held a post in the ministry of education in Beijing. He was Chinese literature instructor at National Beijing University (1920-26), and also taught at Xiamen (Amoy) University (1926) and University of Canton (1927).

In 1918 Lu Xun published his famous story "K'uangjen jih-chi" (Diary of a Madman), which took its title deliberately from Nikolay Gogol. It appeared in Hsin ch'ingnien, the journal that initiated the intellectual revolution. Lu Xun was a founding member of several leftist organizations, including League of Left-Wing Writers, China Freedom League, and League for the Defense of Civil Rights. He was also a leading figure in the May Fourth Movement, named for a demonstration protesting the continuation of international sponsored imperialism in China and pro-Japanese provisions at the Paris Peace Conference. The protests led to the rise of modernist, socially critical movement which flourished only briefly, about a decade, and later came to symbolize intellectual and artistic freedom.

'K'uangjen jih-chi' condemned the traditional Confucian culture. The narrator, who thinks he is held captive by cannibals, sees the oppressive nature of tradition as a "man-eating" society. "Diary of a Madman" has been called China's first Western-style story. The story was written in vernacular in clear and compact style. Lu Xun's tour de force helped gain acceptance for the short-story form as an effective literary vehicle. He avoided traditional omniscient narration and replaced it with a single narrator through whose eyes the story is filtered.

"Ah Q, too, was a man of strict morals to begin with. Although we do not know whether he was guided by some good teacher, he had always shown himself most scrupulous in observing "strict segregation of the sexes," and was righteous enough to denounce such heretics as the little nun and the Bogus Foreign Devil. His view was, "All nuns must carry on in secret with monks. If a woman walks alone on the street, she must want to seduce bad men. When a man and a woman talk together, it must be to arranged to meet." In order to correct such people, he would glare furiously, pass loud, cutting remarks, or if the place were deserted, throw a small stone from behind." (from 'The True Story of Ah Q')
"Ah Q cheng-chuan" (1921, The True Story of Ah Q) is Lu Xun's most celebrated story. It depicts an ignorant farm laborer, an everyman, who experiences, with an utter lack of self-awareness, a series of humiliations and finally is executed during the chaos of the Republican revolution of 1911. Ah Q is considerd the personification of the negative traits of the Chinese national character. The term A Quism was coined to signify the Chinese penchant for naming defeat a "spiritual victory." While revealing Ah Q's weakness of will, the author also shows his deep sympathy for his character. In the allegory Lu Xun sees China unprepared to deal with the impact of Western culture and technology.

In several other works Lu Xun contrasted the hypocrisy of upper-class intellectuals with the suffering of the lower-class people. But the straightforward interpretation of his stories have often neglected their ambiguity and metaphysical levels. His three volumes of stories, Nahan (1923, Call to Arms), Panghuang (1926, Wandering), and Gushi xinbian (1935, Old Tales Retold), deeply influenced modern Chinese fiction. However, Lu Xun and his younger brother Zhou Zuoren's translations of Western works, including stories by Leonid Andreyev, Guy de Maupassant, and Henry Sienkiewich, were received with near silence by the reading public.

Lu Xun participated actively in the literary debates of the 1920s and 1930s. He was a patron of younger writer among whom the best-known are Xiao Jun, Xiao Hong, Duanmu Hongliang, and Rou Shi. In the early 1920s he began to embrace Marxism, but disappointed the underground Communist movement by refusing to join it formally. In 1926 he received negative attention from the government because of his support for the Beijing students' patriotic movement and was forced to leave the city to Fujian to teach at Xiamen University. In 1927 he went to teach at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou but resigned from his post. In the late 1920s Lu Xun moved to Shanghai where he found sanctuary in the International Settlement. He was editor of the magazines Benliu in 1928 and Yiwen in 1934. During these years Lu Xun was the titular head of the League of Left-wing Writers. He died from tuberculosis on October 19 in 1936.

When the generals kill,
Doctors have to save.
After most are killed,
A few escape the grave.
It hardly makes the losses less,
Alas.
(1930, 'untitled')

The collected works of Lu Xun in twenty volumes was first published in 1938. Lu Xun's work is still widely read in China. In his lifetime Lu Xun managed to maintain his status as an independent but leftist artist, but since his death political factions have been slightly nervous about his legacy. From 1949 his name was used in political campaigns by the Communists and he was canonized by Marxist literary historians. During the Cultural Revolution his reputation remained untouched although his disciplines, friends, and scholars suffered from purges. After the death of Mao, intellectuals and writers started to reread Lu Xun, seeing him as an anti-authoritarian individualist and a voice of moral conscience.
 

Zhou Zuoren (1885-1967) - essayist, psychologist, translator, the younger brother of Lu Xun. Zhou spent a long time in Japan as a student and acquired a knowledge of Western culture and literature. In 1909 he married Habuto Nobuko; they had one son and three daughters. He returned to Zhejiang province in 1911 and worked in the educational service. Zhou became a prominent figure in the May Fourth Movement, named for student-led demonstration in 1919 protesting pro-Japanese provisions in the Treaty of Versailles. This movement came to symbolize artistic and intellectual freedom and influenced the pro-democracy students in 1989 in Tianenmen Square. From 1931 Zhou was the dean of the department of Japanese literature of the Peking University. Zhou contributed to various journals, including Xin qingnian, Xiaoshuo yuebao, Yuzhou feng, Lunyu, Renjian shi, and Yusi. During the Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945) he collaborated with the Japanese invaders. After the war he was imprisoned (1945-49) and then pardoned. Zhou lived in Beijing for the rest of his life. - Zhou published over two dozen books of essays. His finest essays combine relaxed humor with sadness. In 'Shuili de dongxi' (1931, things in the water) Zhou examined beliefs concerning "river ghosts," spirits of the drowned and in 'Gui de shengzhang' (1934, the aspiring ghosts) he pondered the question of whether or not ghosts continue to age in the spirit world. - Zhuo also wrote under the names Zhitang and Yaotang and translated the works of Havelock Ellis into Chinese.- Lu Xun's brother Zhou Jianren was a biologist and eugenicist. He made the first translation of Darwin into Chinese.
For further reading: Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century, ed. by Steven R. Serafin (1999, vol. 3); Lu Xun and Evolution by James Reeve Pusey (1998); The Lyrical Lu Xun by J.E. Kowallis (1996); Voices from the Iron House by Leo Ou-fan Lee (1987); Lu Xun and his Legacy by Leo Ou-Fan Lee (1985); Lu Xun: A Chinese Writer for All Times by Ruth F. Weiss (1985); Lu Xun: A Biography by Wang Shiqing (1984); Lu Hs?n and his Predecessors by V.I. Semanov (1980); Modern Chinese Literature in the May Fourth Era, ed. by M. Goldman (1977); Lu Hsun's Vision of Reality by William A. Lyell (1976) ; The Gate of Darkness by T.A. Hsia (1968); A History of Modern Chinese Fiction by C.T. Hsia (1961); Lu Hs?n and the New Cultural Movement of Modern China by S. Huang (1957) - See also: Lu Xun - The Lu Xun Library - Lu Xun Memorial Hall
SELECTED WORKS:

Nahan, 1923 - Call to Arms
Panghuang, 1926 - Wandering
Yeh-ts'ao, 1927 - Wild Grass
Gushi xinbian, 1936 - Old Tales Retold
Lu Hs?n ch'uan-chi, 1938 (20 vols.)
Ah Q and Others, 1941
Lu Hs?n ch'uan-chi pu-i, 1946 (1952)
Lu Hs?n shu-chien, 1952 (2 vols.)
Selected Works of Lu Hs?n, 1956-57 (4 vols.)
Selected Stories of Lu Hs?n, 1960
Wild Grass, 1974
The Complete Stories of Lu Xun, 1981
The Collected Works of Lu Xun, 1981 (20 vols.)
Diary of a Madman and Other Stories, 1990
Selected Short Stories of Lu Xun, 1990
 
 

from Compton's Living Encyclopedia on American Online

Lu Xun (1881-1936).

Another significant writer of this period was Lu Hsun, the pen name of Chou Shu-jen (1881-1936). In 1918 he published a short story, "A Madman's Diary," the first Western-style short story written in Chinese. He followed it in 1921 with "The True Story of Ah Q." Both stories criticized and rejected the old order. He is considered a revolutionary hero.... ( Lu Hsun's story, Diary of a Madman, for example, was obviously influenced by Gogol, but the thrust of its content--such as its denunciation of the overly severe and demanding ethics of traditional culture--was an expression of a uniquely Chinese situation. Its style approached that of the fables of Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu, Han Yu, and Liu Tsung-yuan.)

Although he died 13 years before the Communist party came to power in China, the writer Lu Xun is considered a revolutionary hero by present-day Chinese Communists. By the 1930s, when his reputation as a writer was established, he hailed Communism as the only means of unifying China and solving its social and economic problems.

Lu Xun was born Chou Shu-jen in Shaoxing in 1881. He attended the School of Railways and Mines of the Kiangnan Military Academy in Nanjing and later studied medicine, literature, and philosophy in Japan. He returned home a committed foe of the Manchu dynasty, and, after the revolution that overthrew the dynasty in 1911, he joined the new republican government in its ministry of education.

Lu Xun's literary activity began in 1918 when, at the urging of friends, he published a short story, "A Madman's Diary." The first Western-style short story written in Chinese, it was a satiric attack on the traditional Confucian culture of China. Its success laid the foundation for acceptance of the short story as a literary vehicle. "The True Story of Ah Q," published in 1921, was also a repudiation of China's old order. In addition to his stories, Lu Xun wrote essays, of which "Outline History of Chinese Fiction" is by far his best known; made compilations of classical fiction; and translated literature from Russian to Chinese.

His pessimism about the republican government led him to leave Peking in 1926 and settle in Shanghai. There he recruited many fellow writers and countrymen for the Communist party, although he never joined it himself. He died there on Oct. 19, 1936.
 

http://www.healthekids.net/course.phtml?course_id=768
 

 Lu Hsun: Father of Modern Chinese Literature
By Cei-Cai Yip

Lu Hsun is without exaggeration the most famous literary figure of early modern China. He is best known for his satirical portrayal of early 20th century Chinese society.

 Lu Hsun was the pi-ming (pen name) of Chou Shu-jen. He was born on the 25th of September 1881 in Shao-hsing of Chekiang province. Although the Chou family belonged to the rural gentry, the family was not wealthy. Lu Hsun's father was an opium addict, and the family had to pawn family possessions to pay for his medical expenses.
 The ineffectual treatment meted out by traditional Chinese doctors had an impact on Lu Hsun's view of Chinese sciences. As he grew up he came to the conclusion that traditional Chinese physicians were ignorant. This contrasts with Lu Hsun's admiration for the methodology of science practiced in the West and emulated by Meiji Japan.

 As a member of the gentry, Lu Hsun would have read the Confucian classics; the young Lu Hsun also read Taoist texts. He was fond of Chinese novels like 'Journey to the West' (known to Western audiences as 'Monkey'), and fictional works by English writers such as Jules Verne and Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle. His readings of Western philosophy included Plato, the Stoics and Kierkegaard.

 Lu Hsun saw in men like Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) and Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) the ability to harness new forces for social change. Russian authors also impressed him. In later life Lu Hsun translated the works of Tolstoy, Gogol, Trotsky and Maxim Gorky (1868-1936) into the Chinese language.

 After years of classical education, Lu Hsun left his hometown for the Kiangnan Naval Academy in Nanking in 1898. His stay in Nanking rekindled his interest in Chinese classical fictional works and folktales. He transferred to the Nanking School of Mines and Railroads the following year. After completing his studies in Nanking in 1902, Lu Hsun pursued medicine in Japan. While there, he cut off his Manchurian queue (a pigtail worn by Chinese men at the time).

 Lu Hsun experienced the Japanese contempt for the Chinese, and in 1906 abandoned his plans for a career in medicine without graduating. He concluded that it was futile to have a nation of healthy citizens if the country itself was weak. Returning to China in 1909, Lu Hsun taught at various Chinese universities between 1912 and 1927.

 Convinced that literature was a better catalyst of social change than politics, Lu Hsun became involved in the Chinese literary movement in 1918. His 'Madman's Diary' is modeled after Gogol's tale of the same title. It was a condemnation of traditional Chinese Confucian society. In it, Chinese society is referred to as 'man-eating', alluding to its self-destructive capacity. A seminal work, it is the first piece of Chinese literature which followed a European style.

 Lu Hsun is perhaps best known for his novel 'Ah Q Cheng-chuan' (The True Story of Ah Q). Like 'Madman's Diary', it is a critique of old China. The main character of the novel is an uneducated laborer named 'Ah Q' who personifies the Chinese people. During the ensuing chaos of the Republican revolution, he is humiliated and executed. 'Ah Q' has since entered Chinese vocabulary as a description of someone who rationalizes his failure as a 'spiritual victory'.

 Apart from fictional works, Lu Hsun also wrote essays and translated European literature. His Chung-kuo hsiao-shuo shih-lueh ('Outline History of Chinese Fiction'), and a compilation of classical Chinese fiction, remain standard scholarly works of their respective fields.

 Lu Hsun converted to Marxism in the 1920s. Not surprisingly, he became increasingly sympathetic towards the ideals of the Chinese Communist Party in the 1930s, believing it to be the only hope for delivering China out of its dire situation. He brought others into its fold, but curiously, Lu Hsun himself never joined the party. On the 19th of October 1936, Lu Hsun died at the age of fifty-five of tuberculosis, the same disease which claimed his father.

Although initially attacked by the Communist Party as 'bourgeois', Lu Hsun became known as the 'Gorky of China'. His posthumous reputation remained untarnished during the Cultural
 
 

from The Greatest Literature of All Time (Editor Eric; Eric McMillan)

LU Hsun  (1881-1936)

For many years Lu Hsun was hailed as the standard bearer of the Chinese cultural revolution. But politics aside he may be considered the father of modern Chinese literature, which was ushered in with the changes of the twentieth century.

But politics cannot be kept aside. Lu Hsun's writing that overthrew feudal literary norms was not merely coincidental with the evolution that eventually overthrew both feudal and bourgeois political power. Lu Hsun actively supported the growing Communist revolution. His work was intended as a clarion call to replace the ways of the past ¡X artistic, social and political. His first collection of stories is known, after all, as Call to Arms.

However, this should not give the impression that Lu Hsun's writing was one-dimensional, or that artistic and human value were sacrificed to some expedient political goal. For the writer identified deeply with the oppressed Chinese people. His words told their life stories in all their aspects, in much the same way that Gorky's stories of villagers, tramps, workers and students depicted the real world of pre-revolutionary and revolutionary Russia.

"Lu Hsun" (or "Lu Xun" in the more recent spelling, though also sometimes rendered in English as "Lusin") is a pseudonym. He was born Zhou Zhangshou into the gentry in Chekiang Province in China, later changing his name to Chou Shu-jen (Zhou Shuren) and adopting Lu Hsun as a pen name. He was educated in both the Chinese classics and Western philosophy and literature. He studied medicine in Japan but is said to have abandonned it in anger after watching a Japanese film showing a Chinese spy being executed while other Chinese watched impassively. He devoted himself to trying to change China through writing. He taught at various Chinese schools and universities and joined the rebellious New Literature Movement.

His story, "Diary of a Madman" (1918), using the title of a Gogol story, is considered the first modern Chinese story because it uses the language that people spoke, rather than the refined literary style exemplified by the works of Lao Tze and Confucius. (Writing in the vernacular has proven to be a break with the past that all cultures must make in order to bring forth a flowering of popular literature. Asian countries seem to have been slower to reach this point, perhaps due to the persistence of the feudal systems there.)

The True Story of Ah Q (1919) is his best-known work, which could be called either a long story or a short novel and details the life of a hapless, ignorant character buffeted by the forces of society, both high and low. "Diary of a Madman", The True Story of Ah Q, and twelve other early works were collected in Call to Arms in 1922. (The book's title Na Han is more literally translated as Cry Out, I'm told.)

Two other collections followed. Wandering (1925), whose original title Pang Huang apparently suggests something more like agitation than our English sense of wandering which implies aimlessness, includes his second most famous story "The New Year Sacrifice" about the life of a working woman whom everyone calls only "Hsiang Lin's wife". Old Tales Retold (1935) recast Chinese legends in new form, often quite irreverently.

It is difficult to find these books in North America. You might uncover the Selected Stories of Lu Hsun, published by China's Foreign Language Press in 1972 and picked up by an American publisher. It includes 18 of his best stories, plus the Preface to Call to Arms in which he spells out his intentions as a writer. Other collections are also available.

Lu Hsun also wrote 16 volumes of essays, ferociously attacking government policies of the day and other social ills in a Chinese short essay form called "sanwen". He also produced a book of prose poetry, Wild Grass (1926) and translated into Chinese, many other writers, including Tolstoy, Gogol and Gorky.

¡X Eric
 
 

Lu Xun Studies
from MCLC (Modern Chinese Literature and Culture), Ohio State U.
 
 

LU , Hsun (1881-1936)
from Twentieth Century Poetry in Translation

POEMS OF LU HSUN tr. with notes Huang Hsin-chu {Hsin-chu, Huang} Chinese & English texts. Joint Publications (Hong Kong) 77pp (fore. i-iii, chinese text 61-76) 1979 paper & cloth. Each tr. has notes & commentary following.

SELECTED POEMS tr. W.J.F. Jenner {Jenner, W.J.F.} Chinese & English texts. Foreign Languages Press (Beijing) 160pp (intros. 1-26, notes 127-160) 1982 paper.
 

Lu Xun ; a propaganda poster
 

Selected Stories of Lu Hsun
http://www-hsc.usc.edu/~gallaher/luxun/selstory.html
 

An Introduction to Lu Xun
 

Born with the name Zhou Shuren in 1881 to a family of scholars and officials, Lu Xun (a pen name) studied to become a doctor in order to help the Chinese people fight foreign domination, corruption and crushing feudalism. After two years of medical school, however, he realized that to reform society, a fit body is useless if the spirit is weak and apathetic. Thus he decided to become an author rather than a physician, and went on to lead a new literary movement that would take China by storm.
 

In 1918 Lu Xun published his first story, A Madman's Diary, a powerful protest against the feudal system that forces people to consume and undermine one another. He worked as a teacher, lecturer and editor, created woodcuts, and helped young writers establish several literary organizations. He translated many significant works, particularly from Russia. He is known as the father of modern Chinese literature for writing in the vernacular rather than the traditional "literary style."
 

In 1927 Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Goumindang Government betrayed the Chinese Communist Party with a coup d'etat, and in the next period slaughtered over 100,000 progressives and revolutionaries. In 1930 Lu Xun, with 30 others, formed the League of Left-Wing Writers to attack the Goumindang government and promote progressive literature.
 

Forced to lead a semi-clandestine life in this atmosphere of repression, Lu Xun organized resistance and wrote hundreds of essays that used biting satire to expose reaction, and promoted hope for social change. He died of tuberculosis in 1936, thirteen years before the victory of the Chinese revolution.

Following are some essays and stories by Lu Xun:

How I Came to Write Stories
Autum Night
Literature and Revolution
 
 

How I Came to Write Stories
Lu Xun

How did I come to write stories? I sketched the reasons in my preface to Call to Arms.* I should add here that times have changed since I first took an interest in literature: in China then fiction was not considered as literature, and its writers could not rank as men of letters. Thus nobody thought, either, of elevating short stories to the level of literature. I simply wanted to use them to reform society.

I did not set out to write, being more interested in introducing and translating -- short stories in particular, especially those by the writers of oppressed peoples. For in those days there was a great deal of talk about driving out the Manchus, and some young people found moral support in these monitory, insurgent writers. So though I never read a single book on the art of writing fiction, I read not a few stories, some for my own enjoyment, most because I was looking for material to introduce. I also read histories of literature and literary criticism, to find out different writers¡¦ characteristics and ideas in order to decide whether they were suitable to introduce to China or not. There was nothing at all scholarly about this.

As I was looking for monitory, insurgent works, I inevitably turned towards Eastern Europe and read many books by writers from Russia, Poland and the Balkan states. At one point I was searching eagerly for stories from India and Egypt, but to no purpose. I recollect that my favorite authors at that time were the Russian, Gogol and the Pole, Sienkiewicz. Also two Japanese -- Soseki Natsume and Ogai Mori.

After coming back to China I taught in school, and for five or six years had no time to read stories. I need not go into my reasons for starting again, having already done so in the preface to Call to Arms. I started writing short stories not because I thought I had any particular talent, but because I was staying in a hostel in Beijing and had no reference books for research work and no originals for translation. I had to write something resembling a story to comply with a request, and that was A Madman¡¦s Diary. * I must have relied entirely on the hundred or more foreign stories I had read and a smattering of medical knowledge. I had no other preparation.

But the editors of New Youth came to press me again and again until I wrote something. And here I must remember Mr. Chen Duxiu, who was the one who urged me the most strongly to write.

Of course, a man who writes short stories cannot help having his own views. For instance, as to why I wrote, I still felt, as I had a dozen years earlier, that I should write in the hope of enlightening my people, for humanity, and of the need to better it. I detested the old habit of describing fiction as "entertainment," and regarded "art for art¡¦s sake" as simply another name for passing the time. So my themes were usually the unfortunates in this abnormal society. My aim was to expose the disease and draw attention to it so that it might be cured. I did my best to avoid all wordiness. If I felt I had made my meaning sufficiently clear, I was glad to dispense with frills. The old Chinese theatre has no scenery, and the New Year pictures sold to children show a few main figures only (though nowadays most of them have a background too). Convinced that such methods suited my purpose, I did not indulge in irrelevant details and kept the dialogue down to a minimum.

After finishing something I always read it through twice, and where a passage grated on my ears I would add or cut a few words to make it read smoothly. When I could not find suitable vernacular expressions I used classical ones, hoping some readers would understand. And I seldom used phrases out of my own head which I alone -- or not even I -- could comprehend. Only one of my critics spotted this, but he dubbed me a "stylist."

The happenings I described generally arose from something I had seen or heard, but I never relied entirely on facts. I just took one occurrence and modified or expanded it till it expressed what I had in mind. The same was true of the models for characters -- I did not pick on specific individuals. My characters were often a mixture of a mouth from Zhejiang, a face from Beijing and clothes from Shanxi. Those people who said such-and-such a story was aimed at so-and-so were talking nonsense.

One difficulty, however, of writing this way is that it is hard to put down your pen. If you finish a story at one sitting, by degrees the characters come alive and play their parts. But if something happens to distract you, and you do not go back to the story for a long time, the characters may have changed and the story may turn out quite differently from what you intended. When I started Buzhou Mountain, for instance, I wanted to describe the awakening of sexual desire, its creation and decline. But in the middle I read an article by a moralist attacking love poems, to which I took great exception. So in my story a little creature ran up between Nu Wa¡¦s legs. This was not only unnecessary but destoyed the scope of my plot. Still, probably no one else can recognize such places. In fact, our eminent critic Mr. Cheng Fangwu says that was my best story.

If you base a character on one particular individual, I imagine you can avoid this trouble, but I have never tried it.

I forget who it was that said that the best way to convey a man¡¦s character with a minimum of strokes is to draw his eyes. This is absolutely correct. If you draw all the hairs of his head, no matter how accurately, it will not be very much use. I keep trying to learn this method, but unfortunately have not mastered it.

I never used any superfluous padding, or forced myself to write when I felt I could not; but that was because I had another source of income at the time and did not live by my pen. That can hardly be considered a general rule.

Again, while writing I paid not attention to any criticisms whatsoever. Because if Chinese writers were childish in those days, Chinese critics were even more so. If they did not laud you to the skies, they damned you utterly; and had you taken them seriously you would either have thought yourself a prodigy or committed suicide to expiate your crimes. Criticism can only be of use to writers if it condemns what is bad and praises what is good.

I often read foreign critical essays, however, because those critics were not prejudiced for or against me, and although they wrote of other authors, there were many judgements which I could apply to myself. But of course I made a point of finding out their political affiliations too.

All this was ten years ago, since when I have neither written nor advanced. When the editor asked for an article on this subject, what could I write? This hodge-podge is all I can offer.

The night of March 5, 1933.

Translated by Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang, Lu Xun, Collected Works, Foreign Language Press, China, 1956.
 

Autumn Night
Lu Xun

Behind the wall of my backyard you can see two trees: one is a date tree, the other is also a date tree.

The night sky above them is strange and high. I have never seen such a strange, high sky. It seems to want to leave this world of men, so that when folk look up they won't be able to see it. For the moment, though, it is singularly blue; and its scores of starry eyes are blinking coldly. A faint smile plays round its lips, a smile which it seems to think highly significant; and it dusts the wild plants in my courtyard with heavy frost.

I have no idea what these plants are called, what names they are commonly known by. One of them, I remember, has minute pink flowers, and its flowers are still lingering on, although more minute than ever. Shivering in the cold night air they dream of the coming of spring, of the coming of autumn, of the lean poet wiping his tears upon their last petals, who tells them autumn will come and winter will come, yet spring will follow when butterflies flit to and fro, and all the bees start humming songs of spring. Then the little pink flowers smile, though they have turned a mournful crimson with cold and are shivering still.

As for the date trees, they have lost absolutely all their leaves. Before, one or two boys still came to beat down the dates other people had missed. But now not one date is left, and the trees have lost all their leaves as well. They know the little pink flowers' dream of spring after autumn; and they know the dream of the fallen leaves of autumn after spring. They may have lost all their leaves and have only their branches left; but these, no longer weighed down with fruit and foliage, are stretching themselves luxuriously. A few boughs, though, are still drooping, nursing the wounds made in their bark by the sticks which beat down the dates; while, rigid as iron, the straightest and longest boughs silently pierce the strange, high sky, making it blink in dismay. They pierce even the full moon in the sky, making it pale and ill at ease.

Blinking in dismay, the sky becomes bluer and bluer, more and more uneasy, as if eager to escape from the world of men and avoid the date trees, leaving the moon behind. But the moon, too, is hiding itself in the east; while, silent still and as rigid as iron, the bare boughs pierce the strange, high sky, resolved to inflict on it a mortal wound, no matter in how many ways it winks all its bewitching eyes.

With a shriek, a fierce night-bird passes.

All of a sudden, I hear midnight laughter. The sound is muffled, as if not to wake those who sleep; yet all around the air resounds to this laughter. Midnight, and no one else is by. At once I realize it is I who am laughing, and at once I am driven by this laughter back to my room. At once I turn up the wick of my paraffin lamp.

A pit-a-pat sounds from the glass of the back window, where swarms of insects are recklessly dashing themselves against the pane. Presently some get in, no doubt through a hole in the window paper. Once in, they set up another pit-a-pat by dashing themselves against the chimney of the lamp. One hurls itself into the chimney from the top, falling into the flame, and I fancy the flame is real. On the paper shade two or three others rest, panting. The shade is a new one since last night. Its snow white paper is pleated in wave-like folds, and painted in one corner is a spray of blood-red gardenias.

When the blood-red gardenias blossom, the date trees, weighed down with bright foliage, will dream once more the dream of the little pink flowers and I shall hear the midnight laughter again. I hastily break off this train of thought to look at the small green insects still on the paper. Like sunflower seeds with their large heads and small tails, they are only half the size of a grain of wheat, the whole of them an adorable, pathetic green.

I yawn, light a cigarette, and puff out the smoke, paying silent homage before the lamp to these green and exquisite heroes.

September 15, 1924.

Translated by Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang, Lu Xun, Collected Works, Foreign Language Press, China, 1956.
 
 

Literature and Revolution
[Reply to a letter from Dong Qiufen, then a student of Beijing University].

April 4, 1928

Dear Mr. Dongfen,

Not being a critic I am no artist either, for nowadays to be any sort of specialist you have to be a critic too, or have a friend who is one. Without backing you are helpless, on the Shanghai Bund today at any rate. And not being an artist I have no special veneration for art, just as none but a quack doctor will give a boxing exhibition to cry up his wares. I regard art as merely a social phenomenon, a record of the life of the times. And if mankind advances, then whether you write on externals or on the inner life your works are bound to grow out-of-date or to perish. But recently the critics seem terrified of this prospect - they are set on immortality in the world of letters.

The outcrop of different "isms" is an unavoidable phenomenon too. Since revolutions are constantly taking place, naturally there is a revolutionary literature. Quite a number of the world's peoples are awakening and, though many of them are still suffering, some already hold power. Naturally this gives rise to popular literature or, to put it more bluntly, literature of the fourth class.

I am not too clear, not too interested, either, regarding current trends in China's literary criticism. But from all I hear and see, different authorities seem to use a great variety of criteria: Anglo-American, German, Russian, Japanese and of course Chinese, or a combination of these. Some demand truth, others struggle. Some say literature should transcend its age, others pass sarcastic remarks behind people's backs. Yet others, who set themselves up as authoritative literary critics, are disgusted when anyone else encourages writing. What are they up to? This is most incomprehensible to me, for without writing what is there to criticize?

Let us leave aside other questions for the moment. The so-called revolutionary writers today profess themselves militants or transcendentalists. Actually, transcending the present is a form of escapism. And this is the path they are bound to take, consciously or otherwise, if they lack the courage to look reality in the face yet insist on styling themselves revolutionaries. If you live in this world, how can you get away from it? This is as much of a fraud as claiming that you can hoist yourself off this earth by pulling on your ear. If society remains static, literature cannot fly ahead on its own. If it flourishes in such a static society, this means it is tolerated by that society and has turned its back on revolution, the only result being a slightly larger magazine circulation or the chance for publication in the journals put out by big commercial firms.

To struggle is right, I believe. If people are oppressed, why shouldn't they struggle? But since this is what respectable gentlemen [This refers to members of the Crescent Moon Society, a cultural and political association representing the compradore bourgeoisie] dread, they condemn it as "radical," alleging that men the world over are meant to love each other and would do so were they not now corrupted by a gang of bad characters. The well-fed may quite likely love the starving, but the starving never love the well-fed. In the days of Huang Chao [leader of a peasant revolt at the end of the Tang Dynasty] when men ate each other, the starving did not even love the starving; however, this was not due to trouble stirred up by the literature of struggle. I have never believed that literature has the power to move heaven and earth, but if people want to put it to other uses that is all right with me. It can be used for "propaganda" for example.

Upton Sinclair of America has said: All literature is propaganda. Our revolutionary writers treasure this saying and have printed it in large type, whereas the serious critics call Upton Sinclair a "shallow socialist." But I, being shallow myself, agree with him. All literature becomes propaganda once you show it to someone else. This applies to individualist works, too, as soon as you write them down. Indeed, the only way to avoid propaganda is by never opening your mouth. This being so, literature can naturally be used as a tool of revolution.

But I think we should first try to achieve rich content and skillful technique, and not be in a hurry to set ourselves up as writers. The old trade-marks Dao Xiang Cun and Lu Gao Jian [well-known delicatessens in Shanghai] have already lost their appeal, and I doubt whether a firm calling itself "The Dowager Empress Shoe Shop" could attract more customers than "The Empress Shoe Shop." Revolutionary writers bridle at the mere mention of "technique." To my mind, however, though all literature is propaganda, not all propaganda is literature; just as all flowers have colour (I count white as a colour), but not all coloured things are flowers. In addition to slogans, posters, proclamations, telegrams, textbooks and so forth, the revolution needs literature - just because it is literature.

But China's so-called revolutionary literature seems to be an exception again. The signboard has been hung up and our writers are busy patting each other on the back, but they dare not look unflinchingly at today's tyranny and darkness. Some works have been published, true, but often more clumsily written than journalese. Or it is left to the actors in a play to supply the stage-directions, such writing being regarded as "out-of-date." Surely, then, the ideological content left must be most revolutionary? Let me quote you the two superb last lines of a play by Feng Naichao [member of the Creation Society]!
 

Prostitute: I no longer dread the darkness. Thief: Let us revolt!

Lu Xun

Translated by Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang, Lu Xun, Collected Works, Foreign Language Press, China, 1956.
 
 

An Analysis of the Writings of Lu Xun

Dru
March 2, 1995

 China's culture and civilization go back thousands of years. It is a country steeped in ancient traditions and whose imperial dynastic system of government lasted for centuries. The 20th century, however, has brought with it turmoil and change the likes of which have never been experienced before in Chinese history. It is at the beginning of this century, at a time when the dynastic system was overturned, the struggle ensued to fill the vacuum left by the Qing dynasty's departure and the notion of freedom began to be seen as possible for the Chinese by the nation's intellectuals, that writers like Lu Xun and Shen Congwen started expressing their views and ideas in ways that broke with tradition and changed Chinese literature forever. Lu Xun, whose "The Diary of a Madman" was the first Western-style short story written in Chinese, was especially critical of Chinese society and spent the last eighteen years of his life attacking various aspects of that society through his writings.

One theme that is presented in more than one of Lu Xun's stories is his idea that China suffers from its "ancient spiritual civilization" being "inherently cannibalistic." (Spence, p.217) This idea may have originated from Lu Xun's childhood experiences caring for his opium addicted father. His father suffered for many years due to his addiction, and Lu Xun often had to pawn his family's belongings to raise the money necessary to pay for the herbal medicines prescribed for his father. There was also an incident during his adolescence when traditional Chinese doctors, after Lu Xun had complained of chronic toothaches, hinted at masturbation being the cause of his problem, making connections between his teeth and kidneys and his kidneys and sex organs. (Spence, p.98) Lu Xun showed in his works his disgust over the ignorance, superstition and casual cruelty that seemed an inseparable part of traditional Chinese culture. In "The Diary of a Madman," he wrote that if you look carefully you can see the words "eat people" between the lines of Chinese classical texts. (Spence, p.146) This theme also clearly shows in "Medicine," published in 1919. In this story, a couple attempts to cure their consumption-stricken son by feeding him a steamed roll dipped in the blood of an executed revolutionary, Xia Yu. Lu Xun names the family of the sick son "Hua," the ideograph for China. In addition, the ideographs for Xia Yu match the name of executed revolutionary Qiu Jin. The father spends quite a bit of money buying the blood-dipped roll then brings it back to his teashop to feed to his son. As customers gather in his teashop the execution becomes a main topic of discussion, the townspeople mocking the revolutionary for even attempting to convert his jailer to his views and praising Xia's uncle who turned him in as well as the jailer who beat him after being unable to pilfer any of his belongings. Lu Xun paints a depressing picture of a China that perpetuates its sickened existence by executing the people who hold the most promise of creating a better country and feeding their fresh blood to the sick and dying while the population looks on as bystanders, applauding the ignorance and corruption that surrounds them. Of course, the bloody roll does not cure little Hua Shuan and he eventually dies. In addition, the townspeople see no other significance to Xia Yu's death than the use of his blood as medicine. He does add a tiny bit of hope at the end of the story by having the mother of now dead Hua Shuan cross the graveyard to stand with the mother of Xia Yu, and using symbolism he shows that the spirit of revolution is still present and shall someday change China.

In "Kong Yiji," also published in 1919, Lu Xun examines the obsolescence of traditional Confucian scholarship as well as the questionable morals and low value placed on individual human life in Chinese society. Kong, a man with the same surname as Confucius, is a man out of place and out of time. He wears the long gown of the upper-class scholar yet drinks at the wine shop with the short-coated peasants. Rumor has it that he studied the classics yet never passed the official examination and drifted into poverty due to his laziness and bad disposition. No one knows his given name, so he is given the nickname Kong Yiji as those are the first three characters in a children's book. The narrator, a peasant boy who works at the wine shop, describes how Kong is the only customer who manages to add a bit of humor to the shop, not because of his comedic personality but because everyone makes fun of him. In this story, our main character is archaic with hardly any place in post-dynastic China. He does not even fit in at the local tavern. He is poor and has stooped to stealing from his countrymen yet attempts to justify his frequent crimes by stating "Taking a book can't be considered stealing...Taking a book!...Can the business of a scholar be considered stealing?!" (Lau, p.4) Kong's luck finally runs out when he attempts to steal from the provincial scholar Mr. Ting. He is beaten all night until his legs are broken and makes his final appearance in the wine shop a few weeks later. At this point he is a dismal sight, having to drag himself in on his hands to get a drink of wine and finally crawls away once the townspeople gather to laugh at him. He is remembered during the course of the story by the people in the wine shop due to his name being on the chalk board where debtors are listed, but after many months pass since his last appearance his name is erased and no longer called out. Life continues at the wine shop and Kong Yiji's existence is forgotten. Our narrator, probably the only one to recall him, states in the last sentence of the story that Kong is probably dead. Again, Lu Xun has painted a dark picture of certain characteristics of Chinese culture yet leaves us with a tiny spark of hope. In a society where education is limited and the individual hardly carries any value, our narrator, the peasant boy working in the wine shop displays a tidbit of learning and remembers the ill-fated Kong when all have forgotten him. The boy represents a glimmer of hope for the future, a thought that the seeds of knowledge and humanity embedded in the Chinese may end up helping their nation blossom.

The idea of individual value emerges again in 1924's "The New Year's Sacrifice." In this story the dominant theme is the status of women in China, however, we also get more than a glimpse at how important the individual, male or female, is considered. In this story a somewhat scholarly man returns to his home town for the New Year's celebration, and while there he has a disturbing meeting with a beggar who used to be his uncle's servant. The beggar, who we know only as Xiang Lin's wife, knows that our narrator is a scholar and asks him three questions about what happens to the spirit after death. Our narrator, to his dismay, finds that he is unable to answer her questions and spends the rest of the day feeling uncomfortable about the exchange. Later that evening, he finds out that she has died since their conversation. At this point we are treated to the thoughts and emotions that pass through him over the course of the evening and a detailed account of the life of Xiang Lin's wife. We find that she had lead a life of misfortune and abuse with only brief periods of happiness. Her husband dies, leaving her at the mercy of her in-laws. She runs away and becomes the servant of our narrator's uncle, Mr. Lu, until she is found and forcefully taken back by her in-laws. She is then immediately married off again so that money may be raised to pay for her brother-in-law's wedding. She attempts to kill herself during her wedding, but fails and only manages to scar her forehead. Her new marriage is consummated while she is still unconscious from her wound, and a son is born with her new husband. To make matters worse, her husband dies soon after of sickness and her child is killed by wolves. With her husband gone, her new brother-in-law kicks her out of her house and with no where else to go, she ends up as Mr. Lu's servant again. Only now her spirit is gone and she is seen as carrying bad luck with her. To the people of Luchen, she is stained with bad omens. After all, how could she be considered a good woman after losing two husbands and a son. She expresses her grief at every opportunity and while the townspeople express sorrow for her at first, they soon grow tired of her story and resort to ridiculing her. This pattern continues through the end of her life. She makes one final attempt at redemption, but after finding herself still treated with contempt, her self-confidence is lost altogether. She is eventually fired by the Lu family and she descends into the life of a beggar before passing away in our story. The low value of individual life is shown not only in the way Xiang Lin's wife is treated by the townspeople and her in-laws, but also in her death. Our narrator actually feels a bit of relief upon hearing of her death and rationalizes his position by thinking "in the present world when a meaningless existence ends, so that someone whom others are tired of seeing is no longer seen, it is just as well, both for the individual concerned and for others." (Lau, p.20) At the end of our story, the firecrackers and celebration of the New Year sweep the remaining traces of Xiang Lin's wife from our narrator's mind and she is forgotten. In addition, Lu Xun forces us to realize how low her status is by not giving her a name. Everyone knows her only as Xiang Lin's wife. By remaining nameless, she is not allowed a singular identity and our vision of the repressive treatment of women in China takes shape.

This vision becomes increasingly clear in "Soap," also published in 1924. "Soap" takes a close look at the hypocracy of traditional Chinese morals, the growing friction over the issues of tradition and modernization and the overwhelming pressures in Chinese society to conform and become complacent. The story begins with Ssu-ming coming home one day with a bar of soap for his wife. As she is used to washing only with honey locust pods, this is quite a fancy gift. He then calls his son into the room to translate an English name that he was called while in town. When his son is unable to understand or translate the word, Ssu-ming begins a tirade on the uselessness of sending his children, especially his daughters, to attend modern schools. Then, in an attempt to clarify the name he was called, Ssu-ming tells of his visit to the store to buy the soap. A group of three students happened to be watching him look over the different soaps, and when the store clerk refused to unwrap the bar he picked before it was paid for, the students laughed at him. One called him "o-du-fu-la." Thinking of the incident, he continues his tirade, expressing his anger over the changing Chinese culture filled with students of low moral character until he recalls two beggars he saw that day. He tells of a "filial daughter" begging with her grandmother on the main street. He praises her actions, giving all that she received to her grandmother, and condemns the public for jeering at her and not giving her any help. In fact, the rest of the story is filled with Ssu-ming's contempt for the students of his time and the changing character of Chinese society and his respect for the young beggar he saw acting with such filial piety. In Ssu-ming, Lu Xun show us that many Chinese respect the ancient traditions and resent the changes modernization is bringing to China. The name "o-du-fu-la," we find out, is a Chinese interpretation of "old fool." We also see the moral hypocracy evident in Chinese society when after Ssu-ming expresses his contempt at the people not helping the filial daughter his wife asks him if he gave her any money. His reply is "Did I?---No. I'd have felt ashamed to come up with one or two coins. She wasn't an ordinary beggar, you know..." (Lau, p.36) And then there is the backward idea that a female beggar is to be praised while a female student is to be denounced, clarifying our vision of the repression of women. Again in this story, Ssu-ming's wife is not given the dignity of a name. The ideas of conformity and complacency become apparent when Ssu-ming's wife realizes her husband's respect for the filial daughter and suspects adultery. She is angered at first, but she soon realizes the futility of her actions. She is but a lowly female in a fiercely male-dominated China with no options, and therefore is forced to accept her husband's behavior, no matter how unfair or inhumane it may seem.

Conformity and complacency are also the main themes in "In the Wine Shop," published the same year. Our narrator's old friend Lu Wei-fu represents the ultimate perpetrator of compromise, conformity and complacency. When these two men meet in a wine shop, our narrator remembers Wei-fu as a vigorous young revolutionary scholar. Now, he has been reduced to being a teacher of Confucian classics. He tells our narrator of his recent experiences, and each one involves some act of swallowing his pride. Lu Xun describes this type of behavior in a letter written to a friend in March of 1925. "This kind of behavior...originates from vileness and cowardice. When the Chinese are confronted with power, they dare not resist, but use the words 'taking the middle course' to put a good face on their real behavior so that they feel consoled. When they have power...most of them are cruel, heartless and tyrannical, just like despots; they then do not take the middle course. When they have lost power and cannot help taking the 'middle course,' they readily talk about its wisdom. As soon as they are totally defeated, they are ready to resign themselves to fate." (Spence, p.218) Wei-fu has lost all of his spirit, a phenomenon that Lu Xun abhors and yet sees ingrained in Chinese culture.

We are given a short look at the issue of social classes in "Kong Yiji," and are able to take a closer look in 1921's "My Old Home." This story is about a man who briefly returns to his home town in order to help move his family away to the city. While there, his mother mentions that his childhood friend Jun-t'u has inquired about him and will visit him within the next few days. The mention of Jun-t'u rekindles old memories of childhood wonder when the two boys were like brothers even though they came from from different backgrounds. When Jun-t'u arrives, however, the realities of adulthood make themselves apparent. Jun-t'u is no longer the ruddy-faced little boy with the silver necklet around his neck. He is now a poor peasant with "deep lines and wrinkles; his eyes too [are] like his father's, the rims swollen and red." (Lau, p.14) His character is also much different. He is very aware of his social position and dares not call his old friend, our narrator, by his given name. He instead refers to him as "master." Another character in the story, Mrs. Yang, is the old lady who owns the beancurd shop across the street from our narrator's house. She considers our narrator and his family rich and displays her resentment toward their status by stealing something from them each time she visits. These experiences leave our narrator depressed as he moves his family out of town. He had such fond memories of his youth, and finds that the loss of childhood's innocence was accompanied by the contruction of a barrier that came to separate Jun-t'u and himself. As he leaves town he thinks of his nephew Hung-erh and how he and Jun-t'u's son Shui-sheng had just met and immediately started their own friendship. He hopes that their generation will break the cycle, learning to live in adulthood without social class barriers.

Lu Xun was unmistakably worried about the fate of his country. He saw China as filled with ignorance, superstition and cruelty, and hoped desperately for a means to solve its social and economic problems. It is interesting to note that he himself was not immune to the traditions that he wrote so scornfully of. In 1906, he took the "middle course" by surrendering to an arranged marriage. Despite this, he attracted a wide following and "remains the most renowned writer-intellectual of modern China." (Lau, p.2) Lu Xun lived through the beginning of China's twentieth century revolution. He watched the Qing Dynasty fall, and found the republican government just as corrupt. He wrote that in the revolution of 1911, all that happened was that "the Manchus left the feast" (Spence, p.217) and eventually hailed Marxism as the vehicle to transform China. Whether his choice of vehicles was good or bad is irrevelant. Lu Xun was a man who vehemently wanted to save his nation from what he thought was eating it away from the inside, and was able to pass that desire on through his writings.

Bibliography

Lau, Joseph S.M., C.T. Hsia and Leo Ou-Fan Lee. Modern Chinese Stories and Novellas: 1919-1949. New York: Columbia University Press, 1981.

Spence, Jonathan D. The Gate of Heavenly Peace: The Chinese and Their Revolution, 1895-1980. New York: Penguin Books, 1981.