Lao She

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Lao She

(lou shŭ), pseud. of

Shu She-yü

(sho͞o shŭ-yü) or

Shu Ch'ing-ch'un,

(chĭng-cho͝on), 1899–1966, Chinese writer. He wrote his first novels while teaching Chinese at the Univ. of London's School of Oriental Studies (1924–30). He continued to teach and write in China during the 1930s, receiving high praise for his novel Camel Xiangzi (1939, tr. 1981). In the 1950s he wrote a number of popular plays with Marxist themes, including The Teahouse (1958), but fell victim to the Red Guards at the outset of the Cultural RevolutionCultural Revolution,
1966–76, mass mobilization of urban Chinese youth inaugurated by Mao Zedong in an attempt to prevent the development of a bureaucratized Soviet style of Communism.
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 and was either murdered or driven to suicide. His fiction was noted for its farcical tone. Translations of his work include The Crescent Moon and Other Stories (1985) and The Two Mas (1984).


See studies by G. Kao (1980) and D. D. Wang (1992).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lao She


(pseudonym of Shu she-yu, also called Shu ch’ing-ch’un). Born February 1899, in Peking; died 1966. Chinese writer. Manchurian by nationality. Son of a soldier.

Lao She graduated from a teachers’ seminary in 1918. A professor, he was a deputy to the All-China National People’s Congress from 1954. From 1924 to 1929 he taught Chinese at the University of London. It was in Great Britain that he wrote his first social novels, which reflected the development of bourgeois society in feudal China. These novels include Lao Chang’s Philosophy (1926), Chao Tzu-yueh (1927), and The Two Ma’s (1928). After returning to his homeland, Lao She wrote the satirical novel The City of Cats (1933; Russian translation, 1969). The fate of the ordinary man is the subject of some of his novels, including Divorce (1933; Russian translation, 1967) and Rickshaw Boy (1935; Russian translation, 1956).

During the Japanese occupation (1937–45) Lao She headed the All-China Anti-Japanese Writers Federation. In works that included the novel Cremation (1940) and the plays Wisps of Fog (1940) and The State Above All (1943), he condemned traitors to the homeland and glorified the people’s courage and friendship between peoples of different nationalities. From 1946 to 1949, while in the USA, he worked on the trilogy Four Generations Under One Roof, which deals with the Japanese occupation of China. Upon returning to his homeland, he wrote several dramas reflecting the development of socialist ideology in the consciousness of the Chinese people. He also wrote the historical drama A Fist in the Name of Justice (1961), dealing with the Boxer Rebellion of 1899–1901.


In Russian translation:
Sochineniia, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1957.
Den’ rozhdeniia Siao-po. Moscow, 1966.


Antipovskii, A. A. Rannee tvorchestvo Lao She: Temy, geroi, obrazy. Moscow, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Beginning with some of the Confucian and Daoist classics and ending with modern fiction, Great Books of China features famous novels including The Water Margin (Shuihu zhuan), Journey to the West (Xiyou ji), and Dream of the Red Chamber (Hongloumeng); celebrated dramas such as The Story of the Lute (Pipa ji) and The Peach Blossom Fan (Taohua shan); poetry from ancient times and the "golden age" of the Tang to the last years of imperial China; renowned historic manuals on Chinese painting, on the construction of Chinese gardens, and on a carpenter's varied tasks; major texts describing Chinese history, the military exploits of ancient generals, and the legendary journeys of Buddhist monks; and works by a number of modern writers including Lu Xun, Ding Ling, and Lao She.
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