Lu Hsün Criticism - Essay

Lu Hsün (essay date 1922)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: A preface to Cheering from the Sidelines, in Lu Xun: Diary of a Madman and Other Stories, translated by William A. Lyell, University of Hawaii Press, 1990, pp. 21-8.

[The following essay was written in 1922 and published in the Beijing Morning Post in August 1923, the month Nahan (Call to Arms; here translated as Cheering from the Sidelines) was issued. Lu Hsün discusses the circumstances surrounding his earliest efforts at story writing.]

As a young man I had my share of dreams too. Later on I forgot most of them but saw nothing in the least regret-table about that. To be sure, reminiscence can afford us pleasure, but it can...

(The entire section is 2654 words.)

Wang Tso-Liang (essay date 1949)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "Lu Hsün," in Life and Letters and the London Mercury, Vol. 61, No. 142, June, 1949, pp. 200-05.

[In the following excerpt, Wang praises Lu Hsün as a stylist and satirist.]

One must start from the point where Lu Hsün is invariably launched by his critics, namely, that he is a satirist. He could not choose but be one. He wrote his Ah Q and his 'miscellaneous essays' at a time when only satire could be effective. Satire is ever allied to surfeit; it thrusts open the inner corruption of a society at the very moment when the society has acquired, what with wigs and fine dress, wine and courtesans, a most civilized look. In the case of Lu Hsün' s...

(The entire section is 1434 words.)

John H. Weakland (essay date 1956)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "Lusin's 'Ah Q': A Rejected Image of Chinese Character," in The Pacific Spectator, Vol. 10, No. 2, Spring, 1956, pp. 137-46.

[In the essay below, Weakland discusses the significance of Ah Q as a symbol of Chinese national character.]

Modern Chinese fiction, which is often sharply critical of traditional Chinese patterns of living, offers valuable insight into what is rejected in past culture and character and also into imagined or envisioned counter-images for future realization. This, in turn, mirrors some of the qualities of the political character of the people. From a casual investigation, the literary and, by extension, political image of what should be...

(The entire section is 3867 words.)

Chun-Jo Liu (essay date 1957)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Heroes and Heroines of Modern Chinese Fiction: From Ah Q to Wu Tzu-hsü," in The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. XVI, No. 2, February, 1957, pp. 201-11.

[In the following essay, Liu argues that Ah Q "represents the spirit of the Chinese people: a spirit that is fallen on evil days, a spirit that is paralyzed by the disease of indolence and ignorance. "]

When one thinks about the people that are portrayed by modern Chinese authors, one inevitably sees, foremost in the gallery, the image of Ah Q, the homeless farm hand who lives in a village temple, the tragic hero of a mock epic. The image, as one recent Chinese critic puts it, is similar to a caricature...

(The entire section is 1570 words.)

Jaroslav Průšek (essay date 1967)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "Lu Hsün's 'Huai Chiu': A Precursor of Modern Chinese Literature," in The Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 29, 1969, pp. 169-76.

[The following essay was originally presented as a conference paper in 1967. Průšek discusses Lu Hsün's distinctly modern handling of plot and language in the early story "The Past, " observing significant departures from traditional Chinese literature.]

This is not the first occasion on which I have considered the emergence of a modern literature in China. There can be no more fascinating subject in the history of Asian literatures than the profound rift separating the modern from the traditional literature and an...

(The entire section is 3068 words.)

Marston Anderson (essay date 1981)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Morality of Form: Lu Xun and the Modern Chinese Short Story," in Lu Xun and His Legacy, edited by Leo Ou-fan Lee, University of California Press, 1985, pp. 32-53.

[The following excerpt is taken from an essay first presented at a 1981 conference marking the centennial of Lu Hsün's birth. Anderson here examines the social and ethical as well as literary implications of Lu Hsün's experimentation with Western literary forms in his short stories.]

Few works in literary history occupy as crucial a junction as the twenty-five short stories collected in Lu Xun's The Outcry (or Call to Arms, 1923) and Hesitation (or Wandering, 1926)....

(The entire section is 5949 words.)

Simon Leys (essay date 1981)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "Fire under the Ice: Lu Xun," in The Burning Forest: Essays on Chinese Culture and Politics, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1985, pp. 100-07.

[In this essay, which was originally written in 1981, Leys aims to refute the myth of Lu Hsün as a great Communist patriot and assert his importance as an artist and humanist.]

Lu Xun always vehemently rejected the role of messiah that some naïve or cunning admirers attempted to force upon him. Whoever actually reads him—his professional devotees never bother to do this, it seems—is struck at once by his disconcerting ambiguities. In fact, he was so paradoxical and contradictory, riddled with so many doubts,...

(The entire section is 2557 words.)

Jiang Deming (essay date 1982)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "Notes on Lu Xun," in Chinese Literature, Vol. 7, No. 7, July, 1982, pp. 94-104.

[In this excerpt, Jiang stresses Lu Hsün's sympathy for the working and oppressed classes as a primary inspiration for his writing.]

In 1920, Lu Xun published his short story "A Small Incident".

At that time he was not a Marxist but a revolutionary democrat. However, because he maintained close contacts with the peasants and had a relatively correct understanding of China's toiling masses, his stand differed from the humanism of certain bourgeois and petty-bourgeois writers. He did not condescend to the working people, or simply describe their "inferiority" or...

(The entire section is 1031 words.)

William A. Lyell (essay date 1990)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: An introduction to Lu Hsün: Diary of a Madman and Other Stories, translated by William A. Lyell, University of Hawaii Press, 1990, pp. ix-xiii.

[In the excerpt below, Lyell relates some of Lu Hsün 's short stories to events in the author's personal life. In his essay Lyell translates the titles of Lu Hsün's collections Nahan and P'ang huang as Cheering from the Sidelines and Wondering Where to Turn, respectively.]

Late in 1911 . . . before leaving his hometown, Lu Xun wrote his first short story, "Remembrances of the Past.-' Though written in the literary Chinese idiom, this story is modern in most respects and presents a view of...

(The entire section is 4088 words.)