Magazine article Chinese Literature Today

Foreign Literature

Magazine article Chinese Literature Today

Foreign Literature

Article excerpt

Foreign Literature. Echoes of a Century: Series Three. 10 volumes. Li Ziyun, Zhao Changtian, and Chen Sihe, eds. Nonfiction. Nanchang. Jiangxi Academic Publishing House. 2009. 290 RMB. ISBN 9787811325874

Zhao Jiabi, the editor of the first series of China's New Literature, once recalled this anecdote in an essay: When he sent the book to Cai Yuanpei, a renowned Chinese scholar and educator, Cai remarked that it would be great if another volume could be compiled focusing on influential foreign literature since the May Fourth Movement in 1919. Indeed, the development of modern Chinese literature has been closely interwoven with the development of foreign literatures, yet few published collections of related historical materials exist. In the early 1990s, the Echoes of a Century series collected important yet unduly neglected works of modern Chinese writers and critics. This book series was initiated by Huang Yuanhua and Ba Jin, two significant literary figures, funded by the Shanghai Literature Development Foundation, and first released by Zhuhai Publishing House. Editors included literary critic Zhao Ziyun, author Zhao Changtian, and Fudan University Chinese literature professor Chen Sihe. Series One (ten volumes) of Echoes of a Century contains works from ten Chinese writers, including Mu Dan, Xin Lao, and Ling Shuhua; Series Two (ten volumes) presents the work of ten Chinese literary critics, including Li Changzhi, Zhou Zuoren, and Ye Gongchao; Series Three focuses on the impact of foreign literature, embracing the translated works of ten foreign writers, including John Dewey, Friedrich Nietzsche, Irving Babbitt, Henrik Ibsen, and Leo Tolstoy, as well as historical materials showing how these works were introduced and popularized in China. The original plan was to release the three series of Echoes of a Century consecutively; however, after the publication of the first two series, Zhuhai Publishing House failed to issue the third due to financial difficulties. The finished manuscript of Series Three was thus put aside for ten years, during which time Wang Yuanhua, Ba Jin, and Li Ziyun, all of whom had provided invaluable support in the early days of the project, passed away. It was not until 2009 that the third series was published by Jiangxi Academic Publishing House with a preface written by Chen Sihe.

Foreign impact is the major theme in Series Three, which covers ten international thinkers and writers: John Dewey, Bertrand Russell, Rabindranath Tagore, Henrik Ibsen, Peter Kropotkin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Irving Babbitt, Charles Darwin, and Leo Tolstoy. …

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