China Beat Archive


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March 10, 2010 in The China Beat


Copyright 2010. Used by permission.


Urbanatomy has been running a series called “Why I Write” for the past several months, and we’ve noticed that when asked for their favorite Chinese author, many interviewees name Lu Xun (though Ian Johnson is a vocal dissenter). It’s likely that Lu Xun’s work will be known to even more non-Chinese speakers in the future, since Julia Lovell’s new translation of his complete fiction has hit bookshelves — read an excerpt from her introduction here, and see Jeff Wasserstrom’s review of the book here. So many decades after his death, why does Lu Xun remain one of China’s best-known authors, both at home and abroad? The answer, suggests Sean Macdonald, lies not only in Lu Xun’s talents as a writer, but also in the construction of “Lu Xun” as a cultural and political figure during the Mao era.