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Lu, Xun 1881–1936

Lu, Xun 1881–1936

[A pseudonym]

(Hsün Lu, Shuren Zhou)

PERSONAL: Pseudonym sometimes transliterated Lu Xun; born Zhou Shuren, 1881, in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, China; died from tuberculosis, October 13, 1936; married Habuto Nobuko, 1909; children: one son, three daughters. Education: Attended Jiangnan Naval Academy, 1898–99; School of Railway and Mines, 1899–1902; and Sendai Provincial Medical School. Also studied Japanese in Japan.

CAREER: Writer, critic, educator, and translator. Held numerous positions in education and government, including in Ministry of Education, Beijing, China, 1912–26; teacher in Shaoxing, 1912–26; National Beijing University, instructor in Chinese literature, 1920–26. Also taught at Xiamen (Amoy) University, 1926, and University of Canton, 1927. Editor of magazines Benliu, 1928, and Yiwen 1934.

MEMBER: League of Left-Wing Writers.

WRITINGS:

Na Han, 1922, translated as Call to Arms, Foreign Language Press (Beijing, China) 1981.

Pang huang, 1925, translated by Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang as Wandering, Foreign Language Press (Beijing, China) 1981, translated as Hesitation, Bei xin shu ju kan xing (Shanghai, China), 1946.

The True Story of Ah Q, translated by George Kin Leung, Commercial Press (Shanghai, China), 1927, reprinted, Foreign Language Press (Peking, China), 1953.

The Tragedy of Ah Qui, and Other Modern Chinese Stories, G. Routledge & Sons (London, England), 1930.

Lu Xun za gan xuan ji, Ch'ing kuang shu chü (Shanghai, China), 1933, reprinted, Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing (Beijing, China), 1980.

Zuihitsushu, Toseisha, Showa (Tokyo, Japan), 1940.

Ah Q and Others, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1941.

Hua gai ji, 1941, reprinted, Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing (Beijing, China), 1980.

Lu Xun lun mei shu, 1948, reprinted, Fa xing zhe Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo (Beijing, China), 1982.

Lu Xun xiao shuo ji, Ren min wen xue chu ban she (Beijing, China), 1952, reprinted, Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing (Beijing, China), 1990.

Er xin ji, 1953, reprinted, Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing (Beijing, China), 1980.

Er yi ji, 1953, reprinted, Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing (Beijing, China), 1980.

Fen, 1953, reprinted, Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing (Beijing, China), 1980.

Hua bian wen xu, 1953, reprinted, Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing (Beijing, China), 1980.

Zhao hua xi shi, 1954, reprinted, Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing (Beijing, China), 1979, translated by Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang as Dawn Blossoms Plucked at Dusk, Foreign Language Press (Peking, China), 1976.

Lu Xun quan ji, 1956, reprinted, Ren min wen xue chu ban she (Beijing, China), 1973.

Selected Works of Lu Hsun, Foreign Languages Press (Peking, China), 1956–60, published as Lu Xun, Selected Works, 1980.

A Brief History of Chinese Fiction, translated by Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang, Foreign Language Press (Peking, China), 1959, reprinted, 1976.

Old Tales Retold (originally published as Gu shi xin bian), Foreign Languages Press (Peking, China), 1961.

Philihan tjerpen, Jajasan Kebudajaan Sadar (Jakarta, Indonesia), 1963.

Three Stories, introduction and notes by P. Kratochvil, Cambridge University Press (London, England), 1970.

A Lu Hsün Reader, compiled and annotated by William A. Lyell, Jr., Far Eastern Publications, Yale University (New Haven, CT), 1967.

Ah Q and Others; Selected Stories of Lusin, (Chou-Shu-jen), translated by Chi-Chen Wang, Books for Libraries Press (Freeport, NY), 1971.

Manifestations, Divergence, Seghers/Laffont (Paris, France), 1972.

Selected Stories of Lu Hsun, translated by Yang Hsien-hi and Gladys Yang, Oriole Editions (New York, NY), 1972.

Lu Xun shu jian xuan yi (title means "A Selection of Lu Xun's Letters"), translated by Hua Ying dui zhao, Xingzhou shi jie shu ju you xian gong si (Xingzhou, China), 1973.

Silent China; Selected Writings of Lu Xun, translated by Gladys Yang, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1973.

Zhu fu. The New Year's Sacrifice, Chao Yang, 1973.

Wild Grass (poems), Foreign Language Press (Peking, China), 1974.

Lu Xun yan lun xuan ji (selected works), Ren min wen xue chu ban she (Beijing, China), 1976.

Selected Stories of Lu Hsun, translated by Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang, Norton (New York, NY), 1977, reprinted, 2003.

Lu Xun lun li shi. Fuzhou tie lu fen ju zheng zhi bu, Xiamen da xue Zhong wen xi bian, Fu-chien jen min ch'u pan she, 1978.

Lu Xun shou gao quan ji. Shu xin (manuscripts and correspondence), Fa xing Xin hua shu dian (Beijing, China), 1978–80.

Lu Xun xiao shuo ji ci hui (short stories), translated by D.C. Lau, Zhong wen da xue chu ban she (Hong Kong, China), 1979.

Poems of Lu Hsun, translated and noted by Huang Hsin-chyu, Joint Publishing (Hong Kong, China), 1979.

Hua gai ji xu bian, Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing (Beijing, China), 1980.

Kuang ren ri ji (cha tu ben), Ya yuan chu ban she (Xianggang, China), 1980.

Lu Xun lun wen xue yu yi shu. Wu Zimin, Xu Naixiang, Ma Liangchun bian, Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing (Beijing, China), 1980.

Lu Xun, Selected Poems, Xin hua shu dian Shanghai fa xing suo fa xing (Shanghai, China), 1981.

The Complete Stories of Lu Xun, translated by Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1981.

Lu Xun shi hua, Tianjin shi xin hua shu dian fa xing (Tianjin, China), 1981.

Lu Xun lun wai guo wen xue, Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing (Beijing, China), 1982.

Lu Xun san wen, san wen shi xuan du (selections), Heilongjiang sheng xin hua shu dian fa xing (Ha'erbin, China), 1982.

Lu Xun selected poems, translated by W.J.F. Jenner, Foreign Language Press (Beijing, China), 1982.

Lu Xun shi jie (selections), Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing (Beijing, China), 1982.

Lu Xun lun chuang zuo (selections), Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing (Shanghai, China), 1983.

Lu Xun xuan ji (selections), Sichuan sheng xin hua shu dian fa xing (Chengdu, China), 1983–85.

Lu Xun san wen xuan (essays), Shan bian she (Xianggang, China), 1984.

Lu Xun xiao shuo xuan (short stories), Shan bian she (Xianggang, China), 1984.

Lu Xun zuo pin xuan du (selections), Sichuan shao nian er tong chu ban she: Sichuan sheng xin hua shu dian fa xing (Chengdu, China), 1984.

Lu Xun shi qian xi (poems), Hebei sheng xin hua shu dian fa xing (Shijiazhuang, China), 1985.

Nian hua ji: Lu Xun shou cang Sulian mu ke, Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing (Beijing, China), 1986.

Lu Xun ji jiao gu ji shou gao, Xin hua shu dian Shanghai fa xing suo fa xing (Shanghai, China), 1986–1993.

Lu Xun lun jiao yu, Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing (Beijing, China), 1986.

Lu Xun quan ji miao yu lu (quotations), Nong cun du wu chu ban she (Beijing, China), 1988.

Lu Hsun: Complete Poems, translated with introduction and annotation by David Y. Ch'en, Center for Asian Studies, Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ), 1988.

Chu Ban (selections), Hai feng chu ban she, Min guo 78 (Bei, China), 1989.

Lu Xun shi shi du (poems), Yunnan shao nian er tong chu ban she (Kunming, China), 1989.

Lu Xun zuo pin ji, Fa xing suo Da hong tu shu you xian gong si, Min guo (Taibei, China), 1990.

Diary of a Madman and Other Stories, translated by William A. Lyell, University of Hawaii Press (Honolulu, HI), 1990.

Ji wai ji, Fa xing suo Da hong tu shu you xian gong si, Min guo 79 (Taibei, China), 1990.

Lu Xun xuan ji. Za wen juan (selections), Fa xing she Shandong wen yi chu ban she fa xing bu (Jinan, China), 1990.

Lu Xun zhen yan lu (selections), Fa xing Jilin sheng xin hua shu dian (Changchun, China), 1990.

Lu Xun zhen yan lu (quotations), Jilin jiao yu chu ban she: Fa xing Jilin sheng xin hua shu dian (Changchun, China), 1990.

Lu Xun lun Zhongguo (selections), Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing (Beijing, China), 1991.

Lu Xun xuan ji. Shu xin juan (correspondence), Fa xing she Shandong wen yi chu ban she fa xing bu (Jinan, China), 1991.

Lu Xun jing yu, Shanghai wen yi chu ban she: Xin hua shu dian jing xiao (Shanghai, China), 1992.

Lu Xun san wen jing cui (essays), Jing xiao Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo (Beijing, China) 1992.

Lu Xun zhe li xiao pin, Zhejiang sheng xin hua shu dian jing xiao (Hangzhou, China), 1992.

Lu Xun zhen yan, Lijiang chu ban she (Guangxi Guilin, China), 1992.

Lu Xun san wen xin shang (essays), Guangxi jiao yu chu ban she: Guangxi xin hua shu dian fa xing (Nanning, China), 1993.

Lu Xun san wen ji (essays), Xin hua shu dian Beijing fa xing suo fa xing (Beijing, China), 1993.

Lu Xun yu cui, Hua xia chu ban she (Beijing, China), 1993.

Lu Xun juan (selections), Shang wu yin shu guan (Xianggang), 1994.

Lu Xun zhu zuo xuan (selections), Taiwan Shang wu yin shu gua (Taibei, China), 1994.

Lu Xun zi pou xiao shuo, Xin hua shu dian jing xiao (Shanghai, China), 1994.

Lu Xun dai biao zuo (selections), Lu Xun dai biao zuo (Zhengzhou, China), 1996.

Lu Xun san wen xuan ji (essays), Min zhu yu jian she chu ban she (Beijing, China), 1996.

Lu Xun shu xin xuan ji (correspondence), Min zhu jian she chu ban she (Beijing, China), 1996.

Lu Xun xiao shuo xuan ji (short stories), Min zhu yu jian she chu ban she (Beijing, China), 1996.

Zhongguo xiao shuo shi lue, Xin hua shu dian jing xiao (Beijing, China), 1996.

Bei ren yu nan ren, Zhongguo ren shi chu ban she (Beijing, China), 1997.

Xiao shuo jiu wen chao, Ji Lu shu she (Jinan, China), 1997.

Wu Zhongjie ping dian Lu Xun za wen (essays), Fudan da xue chu ban she (Shanghai, China), 2000.

Lu Xun yi wen quan ji (selections), Qun yan chu ban she (Beijing, China), 2001.

Lu Xun zhi Huang Yuan shu xin shou ji, Zhejiang ren min chu ban she (Hangzhou, China), 2001.

Zhao Yannian mu ke cha tu ben Ye cao, Ren min wen xue chu ban she (Beijing, China), 2003.

Author's works published in numerous other editions and collections in China and other countries; works included in anthologies, including Masterpieces of Modern Chinese Fiction, 1919–1949, Foreign Language Press (Beijing, China), 1983.

Works have been translated into numerous other languages, including English, French, Spanish, Korean, German, Japanese, and Russian.

ADAPTATIONS: "The True Story of Ah Q" was adapted by Ying Xu into a stage performance.

SIDELIGHTS: Zhou Shuren, whose pen name was transliterated as Lu Xun or Lu Hsün, is considered one of the most distinguished figures in Chinese literature. Known outside of China primarily as a short-story writer, Lu produced a vast amount of writings that also included poetry, essays, memoirs, historical stories, and academic papers and books. In addition, he translated numerous works by Russian, Japanese, and German writers. Although always popular in China, in recent years interest in Lu has grown even larger. The first academic center dedicated to the research and study of Lu's works was established at China's Qingdao University in 2002, and the first Lu Xun Culture and Arts Festival was held in 2003 in the author's birthplace of Shaoxig in the Zhejiang province.

Although he had intentions of becoming a doctor and attended medical school, Lu eventually abandoned his studies to focus on a writing career. According to one legend, his's decision followed his witnessing the callous indifference of Chinese onlookers as they observed an execution of prisoners during the Russo-Japanese War. There is little doubt among critics that Lu's subsequent involvement in political thinking influenced his writing. He joined China's New Culture Movement in 1918 and was embracing the ideals of Marxism by the early 1920s. His support of the Beijing students' rebellion in 1926 led to him being wanted by the authorities. As a result, many of the author's writings are a critique of society with a focus on the lower classes and their sufferings as compared to the upper class and intellectuals, who Lu criticizes as hypocrites for their false proposed support for the good of the people. Lu is said to have been a favorite writer of the Chinese communist revolutionary leader Mao Zedong.

Commenting on the author in a Xinhua News Agency article, Kitaoka Masako noted: "Without a thorough understanding of Lu Xun, it's impossible to know about China." In the same article, Maruyama Noboru commented that "The works of Lu Xun and the spirit they carried have transcended every impediment on ideology and last far beyond his age." Jane Cai, writing for the Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, described Lu's work as "acrid and sarcastic in style."

One of the author's early, famous short stories is titled in English "Diary of a Madman" a title that Lu borrowed from Russian author Nikolay Gogol. The story is considered one of the first Western-style stories in China. A contributor to the Pegasos Web site noted: "The narrator, who thinks he is held captive by cannibals, sees the oppressive nature of tradition as a 'man-eating' society." The writer added, that the author's "tour de force helped gain acceptance for the short-story form as an effective literary vehicle" in China.

Lu's most famous story, titled in English "The True Story of Ah Q," tells the tale of a poor, uneducated farm laborer who not only suffers but seems to readily accept a series of humiliations that finally end in his execution during the 1911 revolution. Throughout his ordeals, the protagonist blames himself for his troubles or holds on to a misguided belief that it all must be for the better. "It is a mentality that people recognize as universal," commented Sue Fan in an article by Sandy Yang in the Daily Bruin of the University of Los Angeles, California. "By looking at human nature, we all have our way of rationalizing our actions. It is a survival mechanism to look at the brighter side of things even when you're being humiliated." According to Fan, Lu later wrote about his story, saying, "The reason I wrote Ah Q-like stories is because if we don't recognize the Ah Q characteristic among all of us, then we will see Ah Q all over the place, and Ah Q will live, and that would be a tragedy for China."

In a critical essay on "The True Story of Ah Q," in East Asia: An International Quarterly, Rujie Wang called the tale "a brilliant satire" and went on to note: "In Lu Xun's text, everybody, Ah Q as well as the villagers of Weizhuang, prefers existing knowledge to anything new and original. No one in the village is bothered with finding the truth of what really goes on." Wang added, "As an absurd hero whose tragedy has absolutely no redeeming qualities, Ah Q exists to ridicule the views and values the anti-traditionalist intellectuals have gladly declared bankrupt, values which have been affirmed in the past by many tragic heroes confronted with similar calamities." In an essay in Philosophy East and West, William A. Callahan, noted that "The True Story of Ah Q," "is a particularly useful example of irony because it is so complex," adding that "the dynamics of this intricate tale take on new meanings when it is read in terms of its place in world literature and contemporary cultural theory." Callahan also commented that the author "plays with language to show the power of words."

The author's second collection of short stories, Pang huang, which means "Hesitation," was published in 1925 and features another story now considered a classic. In the "The New-Year Sacrifice" the author writes about a working woman and her inner life. "Through his exploration of her life and heart, Lu Xun makes a profound analysis of society—displaying the social pressures she faces and hinting at the inhuman Confucian morality destroying her hopes and sense of dignity," wrote Fidel Fajardo-Acosta on the Dr. Fidel Fajardo-Acosta World Literature Web site A third collection by the author, Old Tales Retold, or Gu shi xin bian features historic Chinese tales retold through Lu's eyes.

Lu was also noted for his collection of essays about his youth titled Dawn Blossoms Plucked at Dusk, which is translated from the Chinese Zhao hua xi shi. In addition to these writings, he is admired as a poet who, among his other works, wrote sixty-four classical Chinese poems. Even in his poems, Lu continued his social commentary. "The one thing that strikes me most when reading Lu Xun's classical verse today … is how well some of them and his comments would apply to Chinese literary policy and practice from the 1950s through to the 1990s," noted Michael S. Duke in World Literature Today. The author's classical poems, which are collected in the volume Wild Grass, "describes his feelings in relation to the Chinese struggles against imperialism and the Northern warlords," noted Fajardo-Acosta.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Huang, Songkang, Lu Hsün and the New Culture Movement of Modern China, Djambatan (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1957.

Kowallis, Jon Eugene von, The Lyrical Lu Xun: A Study of His Classical-Style Verse, University of Hawaii Press (Honolulu, HI), 1996.

PERIODICALS

Daily Bruin (University of Los Angeles, CA), December 3, 1998, Sally Yang, "Tale Cues in Essence of Individuality; Performance: 'Ah Q' Combines Dance, Theater to Critique Human Nature."

East Asia: An International Quarterly, autumn, 1998, Rujie Wan, "Lu Xun's 'The True Story of Ah Q' and Cross-Writing," p. 5.

Europe Intelligence Wire, February 9, 2003, "Son of Famous China Author Lu Xun Wins Copyright Dispute."

Library Journal, April 15, 1999, D.E. Perushek, "Children's Literature in China: From Lu Xun to Mao Zedong," p. 90.

Philosophy East and West, April, 1994, William A. Callahan, "Resisting the Norm: Ironic Images of Marx and Confucius," includes discussion of author's works, p. 279.

World Literature Today, winter, 1998, Michael S. Duke, "The Lyrical Lu Xun: A Study of His Classical-Style Verse," p. 203.

ONLINE

Dr. Fidel Fajardo-Acosta World Literature Web site, http://www.fajardo-acosta.com/worldlit/ (August 27, 2005), "Lu Xun (1881–1936).

Pegasos, http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/ (August 25, 2005), profile of author.

Renditions, http://www.renditions.org/ (August 27, 2005), brief profile of author and listing of works available in English.

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