With Love and Irony

With Love and Irony

With Love and Irony

With Love and Irony

Excerpt

When I was living in Nanking, China, I followed with sharp interest several new and struggling little magazines, because of my concern with what was taking place around me in a revolutionary China. There was one in English called The China Critic. I read it from cover to cover every week, since in it young Chinese intellectuals were expressing their thoughts and hopes. Their language was English, partly because they wanted English-speaking readers, partly because they wrote, some of them, more easily in English than in Chinese. Then there began to appear in its pages a column entitled The Little Critic, signed by one Lin Yutang, of whom until then I had never heard. The column was unvaryingly a fresh, keen, accurate comment on some aspect or occurrence of daily life, political or social. What won my first admiration was its fearlessness. At a time when it was really dangerous to criticize those in power, The Little Critic criticized boldly and freely, saving himself, I am sure, only by the humor and wit with which his opinions were expressed. This wit, clothing fearlessness where others were timid, mercilessness where no mercy was due, and sympathy for and appreciation of the common people of China, bourgeoisie as well as proletariat, soon drew the attention of many readers besides myself, and people began to ask, "Who is this Lin Yutang?"

Many readers in many countries have asked that since . . .

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