Lu Xun display

Modern Chinese writer Lu Xun (1881-1936) features in a display in the Asian Collections Area, Level 1, Sir Louis Matheson Library, Clayton. Chinese Subject Librarian Xiaoju Liu writes about the author and his published writing.

It has been 100 years since the greatest work in the history of modern Chinese literature was published. ‘Kuangren riji’ 狂人日记 (A madman’s Diary, 1918) was written by Lu Xun, who is widely recognised as the most influential modern Chinese writer. Lu’s original name was Zhou Shuren 周树人. Lu Xun was the pen name he used for ‘Kuangren riji’ 狂人日记. The then Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong, in his The New Democracy (1940), touted Lu as 'the greatest and bravest standard-bearer' of the new Chinese cultural force since the May Fourth Movement.

Lu Xun (left), George Bernard Shaw (middle) and
Cai Yuanpei (right) in Shanghai,1933.

Initially a medical student in Japan, Lu later chose to be a writer as he realised that it was the soul, rather than the body of the Chinese people that needed to be saved. His contribution to modern Chinese literature spread over many areas: fiction, zawen 杂文 (a type of topical writing that is often satirical and antagonistic), prose, and research into the history of Chinese fiction. Quite a few of his works have been selected as textbooks in China or regarded as key references in that area.

Featured items on display include: The complete works of Lu Xun 鲁迅全集 (1981); The Manuscript of Lu Xun 鲁迅手稿全集 (1978); and selected research works on Lu Xun, eg. Fifteen lessons on Lu Xun 魯迅作品的十五堂課 (2007).

Among these items, The complete works of Lu Xun 鲁迅全集 (1981) is of high historical value as it provides significant information on the annotation and interpretation of Lu’s works before and right after the Cultural Revolution. For researchers, this is an irreplaceable edition.

Recently, the Library acquired the new edition which includes a lot more resources compared to the 1981 edition, especially Lu’s translated works. While allowing insights into Lu’s unique translation style and his innate world, this new edition would be of particular interest to researchers working on Lu Xun himself, and also those working on Chinese translation.

Interested in exploring and borrowing these resources for your research and teaching? Come and visit our Asian Collections display on Level 1, Sir Louis Matheson Library, or contact Xiaoju Liu.

Image from Flickr under CC BY-NC 2.0
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