Lu Hsün


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Lu Hsün:

see Lu XunLu Xun
or Lu Hsün
, 1881–1936, Chinese writer, pen name of Chou Shu-jen. In 1902, he traveled to Japan on a government scholarship, eventually enrolling at Sendai Medical School.
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Lu Hsün

 

(pseudonym of Chou Shu-jen). Born Sept. 25, 1881, in Shao-hsing; died Oct. 19, 1936, in Shanghai. Chinese writer, publicist, and literary scholar. Founder of modern Chinese literature. Head of the League of Left-wing Writers of China from 1930 to 1936. Son of an impoverished landowner.

After graduating from the Nanking School of Railroads and Mines in 1902, Lu Hsiin was sent for further training to Japan, where he joined the progressive cultural movement of Chinese students and was active as a translator and publicist. His article “On the Power of Satanic Poetry” (1907) showed his leanings toward romanticism, which also marked his later works. His interest in realism also dates from this period. In Japan and in his homeland Lu Hsiin took part in preparations for the Hsin-hai Revolution (1911-13).

In 1913, Lu Hsiin wrote his first short story, “The Past.” In 1918 he published “Diary of a Madman,” the first work of modern Chinese literature, which shows the influence of N. V. Gogol’s novella of the same title. Subsequently he published the collections Battle Cries (1923) and Wandering (1926), which included the novella The True Story of Ah Q. The novella’s hero, a village laborer, is mocked by his fellow villagers and ultimately goes to the block because of a false accusation of theft. This story and several others reflect the author’s critical rather than apologetic attitude toward the common people, a trait that he shares with the Russian revolutionary democrats and with A. P. Chekhov and M. Gorky. Many of Lu Hsiin’s stories portray the intelligentsia—brave souls capable of dying for the people (Hsia Yii in “Drug”), persons intelligent enough to understand the greatness of the common man (“A Small Occurrence”), likeable but pathetic old scribes (“K’ung I-chi” and “The Flash”), and opportunists, such as Fang Hsiian-ch’o in “Summer Holiday.”

Prose poems occupy a prominent place in Lu Hsiin’s works. Pessimistic overtones may be heard in the prose poems in Wild Grasses (1927), but Lu Hsiin’s faith in life proves ultimately stronger than despair. Some poems are satirical, at times bordering on parody, for example, “My Lost Love.”

The satirical-heroic tales in Old Legends Newly Retold (1936) criticize the ugly aspects of contemporary life. In “Subduing the Elements” the writer reworked the Chinese myth of the flood, ridiculing intellectuals who tremble for their own well-being but have no thought for the people. The mythical hero Yii, who according to tradition saved China from the flood, becomes the personification of labor, democracy, and equality.

In his publicistic articles, Lu Hsiin responded to pressing domestic and international issues. His articles were gathered in A Hot Wind (1925), Under a Rich Canopy (1926), The Dissident (1932), Book About Pseudofreedom (1933), One May Chat About the Weather (1934), and On the Paisley Fringe (1936).

Lu Hsün expounded Marxist aesthetics and popularized progressive world literature, especially Russian and Soviet literature, translating works by N. V. Gogol, M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin, A. P. Chekhov, M. Gorky, and A. A. Fadeev.

“Our unbroken ties with the Soviet Union,” he wrote, “have laid the foundation for China’s extensive literary relations with the entire world” (“I Welcome the Literary Ties Between China and Russia,” Sobr. soch., vol. 2, Moscow, 1955, p. 102). In his article “Revolutionary Proletarian Literature in China and the Blood of Its Vanguard” (1931), he defended progressive Chinese writers and attacked feudal-bourgeois culture and pseudorevolutionary literati. His Outline History of Chinese Fiction (1923) is the first general work dealing with the most democratic form of national literature.

Lu Hsün’s works have been translated into many languages. A four-volume edition of his collected works (1954-56) and more than 100 separate editions of various works have been published in Russian.

WORKS

Lu Hsün ch’üan-chi, vols. 1-10. Peking, 1957-58.
Lu Hsün i-wen chi, vols. 1-10. Peking, 1958.
In Russian translation:
Povesti i rasskazy. Moscow, 1971.

REFERENCES

Sorokin, V. F. Formirovanie mirovozzreniia Lu Sinia. Moscow, 1958.
Pozdneeva, L. Lu Sin’: Zhizn’ i tvorchestvo. Moscow, 1959.
Petrov, V. Lu Sin’ Moscow, 1960.
Semanov, V. I. Lu Sin’ i ego predshestvenniki. Moscow, 1967.
Huang Sung-kang. Lu Hsiin and the New Culture Movement of Modern China. Amsterdam, 1957.

V. I. SEMANOV