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Mao Dun  

2010-06-22 00:05:51|  分类: 人物介绍Person I |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Chinese editor and author, communist ideologue, one of the greatest modern novelists in China. Mao Tun is best known as the naturalist author of TZU-YEH (1933, Midnight), a massive novel about life in the metropolitan Shanghai, and the trilogy SHIH (1933).
--"None of the women and children were healthy looking. From the beginning of spring they had to cut down on their meager food, and their garments were all old and worn. They looked little better than beggars. They were not, however, dispirited; they were sustained by their great endurance and their great hope. In their simple minds they felt sure that so long as nothing happened to their silkworms everything would come out all right. When they thought how in a month's time the glossy green leaves would turn into snow white cocoons and how the cocoons would turn into jingling silver dollars, their hearts were filled with laughter though their stomaches gurgled with hunger." (from Spring Silkworms, tr. by Sidney Shapiro)

Mao Tun was born Shen Yen-ping in Chekiang province into a middle-class family. After studies at the University of Beijing (Peking) he was employed by editorial office of the Commercial Press in Shanghai. Mao Tun's early writings were published in the student magazine Xuesheng Zazhi. By the age of twenty-four he was already a well-known author. In 1920 Mao Tun and several other young writers took over the 11-years-old magazine Xiaoshuo Yuebao (Fiction Monthly), published by the Commercial Press. They started to publish western literature (Tolstoy, Chekhov, Balzac, Flaubert, Zola, Byron, Keats, Shaw, etc.) and make new theories of literature more well known. Although Mao Tun was a naturalistic novelist, he admired among others Leo Tolstoy, who combined in his stories the fate of an individual chatacter or families with historical upheavals.


--'"Hah. With the world all going to hell, people starving by the thousands - what does it matter if we do split up!" Ah To exploded. "In these times a man can die like a dog and no one will care. What's so terrible about splitting up!" He glared at his brother and sister-in-law as if he wanted to swallow down the irresolute pair in one gulp.' (from 'Winter Ruin,' 1933)

SHIH, Mao Tun's first major work, consist of three slim volumes, HUANMIEH (1927), TUNG-YAO (1928), and CHUI-CH'IU (1928). It portrays a generation of young intellectuals, who are caught up in the tidal wave of revolutionary fervor without a true understanding of the the nature of social change. Mao Tun himself had participated Chiang Kai-shek's Northern Expedition (1926-28) to unite the country, but he fled to Kuling when the Kuomingtang broke with the Chinese Communist Party. In 1930s he helped to found the League of Left-Wing Writers, which was dissolved after a quarrel in 1936. Among his masterpieces dealing with Kuomingtang period is the novella 'The Shop of the Lin Family.' In the story a shop in a small town is forced to shut down under semi-feudal backward economic pressures.

Mao Tun's next major work, HUNG (1929, Rainbow), was a story about a young woman who escapes from her bourgeois family to join the revolutionary May Thirtieth Movement in Shanghai. Midnight was Mao Tun's magnum opus, which contained some 70 characters and numerous plot twists and turns. The main theme in the novel is the struggle between national capitalist Wu Sunfu and his rival Zhao Botao. The saga enjoyed immense popularity and played a vital pioneering part in the development of revolutionary realism. In FU-SHIH (1941) Mao Tun told the story of a young woman who is a secret agent for the Nationalist Party, the Kuomingtang, during the War of Resistance against Japan (1937-45). His other war novels include DIYI JIEDUANDE GUSHI (1937), about the siege of Shanghai in 1937, and JIEHOU SHIYI (1942), which depicted the Fall of Hong Kong. The trilogy SHUANG-YEH HUNG SZU ERH-YUEH HUA (1942) was left unfinished.

After the Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937, Mao Tun traveled to many places, and started a literary magazine in Wuhan. He edited the periodical The Literary Front and besides various short stories, he wrote essays. While in Hong Kong he edited the literary page of the newspaper Libao and worked as a teacher. In 1946 he visited Soviet Union. After 1943, Mao Tun did not produce major works of literature, but continued write articles and essays.

When the communist government took over in 1949, he was active on several commitees. The monthly Chinese Literature, which he edited, became the most popular literary journal for Western readers. Between 1949 and 1965 Mao Tun worked as Culture Minister of Culture and Mao Zedong's secretary, but in 1964 he was dismissed in connection with the ideological upheavals. However, Mao Tun survived the Cultural Revolution and he was later rehabilitated. His last significant novel depicted wartime terror in Chungking. In the 1970s he edited a magazine of children's literature and started to write his memoirs, which were serialized in the Party publication, the quaterly Xinwenxue Shiliao (Historical Materials on New Literature). The memoirs were not finished before his death on March 27, 1981. Some of Mao Tun's stories have been filmed, including 'Chun can' (1933, Spring Silkworms), 'Lin jia pu zi' (1959, The Shop of the Lin Family) and the novel Ziye (1981, Midnight).


For further reading: Mao Dun de wenxue daolu, ed. by Shao Bozhou et al. (1959); A History of Modern Chinese Fiction by C.T. Hsia (1961); Mao Tun and Modern Chinese Literary Criticism by Marian Galik (1969); The Genesis of Modern Chinese Literature Criticism by Marian Galik (1980); Realism and Allegory in the Early Fiction of Mao Dun by Yu-shih Chen (1986); Fictional Realism in the Twentieth-Century China by David Der-wei Wang (1992); Encyclopedia of World Literature, vol. 3, ed. by Steven R. Serafin (1999)

Selected works:


novellas HUANMIEH, TUNG-YAO, CHUI-CH'IU (serialized in Xiaoshuo Yuebao, starting in 1927, published in 1930 as a trilogy under the title SHIH)
YEH CH'IANG-WEI, 1929
SHIH, 1930
HUNG, 1930 - Rainbow (translated by Madeleine Zelin)
SAN-JEN HSING, 1931
LU, 1932
'Lin jia pu zi', 1932 - 'The Shop of the Lin Family' (tr. by Sidney Shapiro) - film 1959, dir. by Choui Khoua, screenplay by Yan Xia
CHUN CAN, 1932-33 - Spring Silkworms and The Shop of the Lin Family (translated by Sidney Shapiro) - film: Chun can, 1933, dir. by Bugao Cheng, adapted by Yan Xia
TZU-YEH, 1933 - Midnight (translation by Hsu Meng-hsiung) - film Ziye, 1981, dir. by Hu Sang, starring Xiaoying Cheng,Yelu Gu, Fei Han, Rentang Li
HUA HSIATZU, 1934
MAO TUN TUAN-P'IEN HSIAO-SHUO CHI, 1934
SHU-HSIEH YU SUI-PI, 1935
YIN-HSIANG KAN-HSIANG HUI-I, 1936
ZHONGGUO DE YI RI, 1936 (ed.) - One Day in China, May 21, 1936 (translated and edited by Sherman Cochran and Andrew C.K. Hsieh with Janis Cochran)
TO-CHIAO KUAN HSI, 1937
DIYI JIEDUANDE GUSHI, 1937
FU-SHIH, 1941
SHUANG-YEH HUNG SZU ERH-YUEH HUA, 1942
JIEHOU SHIYI, 1942
TI-I CHIAI-TUAN TI KU-SHIH, 1945
SU-LIEN CHIEN-WEN LU, 1947
MAO TUN WEN-CHI, 1958-61 (8 vols.)
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