Lu Xun

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Lu Xun

Lu Xun or Lu Hsün (both: lōō´shün´), 1881–1936, Chinese writer, pen name of Chou Shu-jen. In 1902, he traveled to Japan on a government scholarship, eventually enrolling at Sendai Medical School. Troubled by what he saw as China's spiritual malaise, he soon abandoned medicine to pursue literature. He returned to China, where he published translations of Western works and held a post in the ministry of education. During the period 1918–26, he wrote 25 highly influential stories in vernacular Chinese. His works include "The Diary of a Madman" (1918), written in the voice of a man believing he is held captive by cannibals; "The True Story of Ah Q" (1921–22), the chronicle of a peasant who views personal failure as success even up to his execution, exposing the elitism of the 1911 republican revolution and a tendency to ignore grim realities; and "The New Year's Sacrifice" (1924), which portrays oppression of women. From 1926, Lu wrote satirical essays and served as head of the League of Leftwing Writers.

See translations by G. and H. Yang (4 vol., 1956–60) and W. A. Lyell (1990); studies by T. A. Hsia (1968), W. A. Lyell (1976), V. I. Semanov (1980), and L. O. Lee (1987).

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