Cheng Chen-To

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cheng Chen-To


Born Dec. 19,1898, in the city of Wenchou, Chekiang Province; died Oct. 17, 1958. Chinese literary scholar, writer, and public figure.

Cheng Chen-to graduated from the Peking Institute of Railroad Transportation. He edited progressive journals and took part in the May Fourth liberation movement of 1919. In 1921 he helped found the Society of Literary Studies. He taught at the universities of Peking and Shanghai beginning in 1931 and also directed the institutes of literature and archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of the People’s Republic of China. Cheng wrote poetry collections, short stories, and essays. He advocated the study of Chinese literature as a distinct form of world literature; he also studied literary genres that had previously been ignored by literary historians. He was the author of Illustrated History of Chinese Literature (1932), History of Chinese Folk Literature (1938), and The Problem of Periodizing the History of Chinese Literature (1958). Cheng translated A. P. Chekhov’s The Seagull, A. N. Ostrovskii’s Poverty Is No Crime, Goethe’s Reynard the Fox, and poems by R. Tagore.


Chungkuo wenhsüeh yanchiu, vols. 1–3. Peking, 1957.
Cheng Chen-to wenchi, vols. 1–2. Peking, 1959–63.


Eidlin, L. Z. “Chzhen Chzhen’-do i nauka o kitaiskoi literature.” In the anthology Dvizhenie “4 maia” 1919 v Kitae. Moscow, 1971.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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After a long and meticulous introduction covering Lin Shu's conflicts with Chen Duxiu and Hu Shi and other devotees of the Literary Revolution regarding the substitution of classical Chinese by vernacular and some rumors about their dismissal from Beijing University, (17) Tarumoto deals with "The cases of false accusation against Lin's Shakespeare" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ("Rin yaku Sheikusupia enzai jiken") that were voiced by Liu Bannong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and Qian Xuantong [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1918; under the pseudonym Wang Jingxuan [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), Hu Shi (1918), Zheng Zhenduo [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1924), A Ying (1937, 182) and others.
The study concludes with three essays dissecting the origins of Zheng Zhenduo's and Lu Xun's critiques and some final words on their influence on later scholarship.
Later, I came across an introduction to Teaching Approaches to Children's Literature by Zheng Zhenduo. In the book entitled Literature in Elementary Schools, MacClintock believes there are three principles of teaching children's literature.
In Literature in the Elementary School by MacClintock, we can find the excerpt cited by both Zhou Zuoren and Zheng Zhenduo. "In literature then, as in the other subjects, we must try to do three things: (1) allow and meet appropriately the child's native and instinctive interests and tastes; (2) cultivate and direct these; (3) awaken in him new and missing interests and tastes." (18) It is clear that both Zhou and Zheng's interpretations of this paragraph are fundamentally correct.
Shen's publications include "The Literary Translator as Social Agent: Zhou Zuoren and the Literature for Children," neohelicon: acta comparationis litterarum unversarum (2014) and "Cosmopolitanism and the Translation of Children's Literature: Zheng Zhenduo as a Case Study," neohelicon: acta comparationis litterarum unversarum (2015).
In 1927, Zheng Zhenduo offered a more academic evaluation of Hawthorne; Zheng regarded Hawthorne as "the first person who wrote tragedy in America" (1990).
After studying in his native Fujian, where he began writing short stories and verse as a youth, Zheng Zhenduo went to Shanghai and then to Beijing to further his education.
With other young writers Zheng Zhenduo helped to change the staid and established Xiaoshuo yuebao ("Fiction Monthly") into a stimulating journal of the new literature, including poetry, essays, and translations, as well as short stories, the most popular literary genre in China in the 1920s.
Mao Dun, Zheng Zhenduo, and others became well known.
In 1928 Zheng Zhenduo found a copy of it in Suzhou and then in 1933 he saw it again in Beijing.
According to their information, the copy that Zheng Zhenduo found in 1933 is now in the Beijing Library,(9) and there is also a fragmentary edition now in the Shoudu (Capital) Library.
(52) The short lyric did experience a real boom in China in the early 1920s, with poets such as Bing Xin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1900-1999), Zheng Zhenduo, Xu Yunuo or Guo Shaoyu all publishing a great number of them in various journals and newspapers.