Lu Hsün and His Predecessors

Lu Hsün and His Predecessors

Lu Hsün and His Predecessors

Lu Hsün and His Predecessors

Excerpt

The works of Chou Shu-jen (1881-1936), the most important Chinese writer of the twentieth century, were rather slow (though no slower than elsewhere in the West) in coming to the attention of Soviet scholars and critics.In fact, it was not until the spring of 1925 that Ts'ao Ching-hua, a Chinese slavicist, introduced Leningrad academician B. A. Vasilev to Chou's—Lu Hsün's—first collection of short stories, entitled Outcry. Fortunately, a record of that meeting has been preserved, and it is extraordinarily revealing.

"Comrade, I am a foreigner and my reading ability in Chinese is limited, so explain to me as a foreigner and a nonprofessional what I ought to select first.Tell me, in your new literature, whose work should I look at first? What sort of works? The most important . . . "

Without waiting for him to finish, I continued his sentence. "The most important work you had best read first is 'The True Story of Ah Q."'

"'The True Story of Ah Q'?"

"Right, Lu Hsün's 'The True Story of Ah Q."'

"Lu Hsün? Where is he from?"

"Let's discuss this again later in detail.First read over 'The True Story of Ah Q' and then we'll talk . . . "

On returning to the Dragon Pavilion I took a volume of Outcry at hand and presented it to him: "'The True Story of Ah Q' is in here."

A few days later in the lounge of the place where he worked, as soon as we came face to face, Vasilev clapped and cried in surprise: "Marvelous! Marvelous! Lu Hsün . . . I see, is just . . . like our Gogol, Chekhov, and Gorky.Marvelous!"

Obviously he was holding 'The True Story of Ah Q' just like someone holding a ball of fire, and sat, letting it burn, but could hardly rest.He went on anxiously: "Such a pity! Such a marvelous writer like this, such . . .

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