A little about Lu Xun, Chinese literature great

16 Nov

The most famous Chinese writer in the last 100 years isn’t Mo Yan, or Gao Xingjian or Ha Jin, but Lu Xun. He’s often referred to as the greatest Chinese writer in modern times and his book The Story of Ah Q is often referred to when describing issues in China or Chinese society. What’s striking is he could have been a Nobel Literature laureate, but declined the chance to be nominated, a very long time before Mo Yan or Gao Xingjian. Lu Xun (born Zhou Shuren) lived in the early 20th century, and died in 1936. I don’t know much about Lu Xun, especially as I haven’t read his work yet, but this interview was a chance to know a little more about him, including his spurning of a Nobel nomination out of selflessness and patriotism. Besides being a good writer and an astute social commentator, Lu Xun was also instrumental in redefining Chinese language itself, shifting written Chinese into a more accessible and modern usage – vernacular Chinese-  from the traditional classical form.

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