❮BOOKS❯ ✴ The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun ✪ Author Lu Xun – Dailytradenews.co.uk

The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun chapter 1 The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun, meaning The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun, genre The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun, book cover The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun, flies The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun, The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun 5a8a76ffaabb7 Lu Xun Is One Of The Founding Figures Of Modern Chinese Literature His Celebrated Short Stories Assemble A Powerfully Unsettling Portrait Of The Superstition, Poverty, And Complacence That He Perceived In Late Imperial China, And In The Revolutionary Republic That Toppled The Last Dynasty In This Volume Presents Lu Xun S Complete Fiction, Including The Real Story Of Ah Q, Diary Of A Madman, The Divorce, And New Year S Sacrifice, Among OthersJulia Lovell S New Translation Of Lu Xun S Short Stories Is Accompanied By An Introduction To The Writer S Political And Literary Life This Edition Also Includes Suggested Further Reading, A Note On Chinese Names And Pronunciation, A Chronology, And Notes


10 thoughts on “The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun

  1. says:

    AcknowledgementsChronologyIntroduction Notes, by Julia LovellFurther ReadingA Note on the TranslationA Note on Chinese Names and Pronunciation NostalgiaOutcry Preface Diary of a Madman Kong Yiji Medicine Tomorrow A Minor Incident Hair A Passing Storm My Old Home The Real Story of Ah Q Dragon Boat Festival The White Light A Cat among the Rabbits A Comedy of Ducks Village OperaHesitation New Year s Sacrifice Upstairs in the Tavern A Happy Family Soap The Lamp of Eternity A Public Example Our Learned Friend The Loner In Memoriam Brothers The DivorceOld Stories Retold Preface Mending Heaven Flight to the Moon Taming the Floods Gathering Ferns Forging the Swords Leaving the Pass Anti Aggression Bringing Back the Dead NotesAfterword, by Yiyun Li


  2. says:

    One of the best short story collections I have read Lu Xun s stories are important It was his mission to help improve China, or rather to help the lot of the common man and woman, to the best of his ability as a writer how much any writer can impact on society is still a much debated question At the time he was writing, China was undergoing a series of extreme upheavals rebellions, invasions, feudal rule by warlords, the rise of communism and nationalism, civil war, the overturning of an imperial system that had been in place for millennia.This volume collects all of Lu Xun s fiction There are three story collections entire and one early story Nostalgia that wasn t collected into a book during his lifetime OUTCRY, HESITATION and OLD STORIES RETOLD are the three story collections that form the basis of this Penguin volume The first two are stories about contemporary China they use irony and satire to criticize both the ignorance of the people and those in charge often equally as ignorant who exploit such ignorance for their own ends Lu Xun walks a very hazardous tightrope, never quite revealing whether he believes himself to be part of the ignorant masses himself or not It s a perfect balancing act he is able to satirize with authority but without appearing condescending The third collection is a set of fantasy stories that are both delightful and irrelevant.A few years ago I discovered the stories of Ry nosuke Akutagawa, also in a Penguin volume I wanted of the same The Chinese Lu Xun seems to be almost a kindred spirit to the Japanese Akutagawa They lived at the same time they experimented both with realism and fantasy In conciseness of language and tone, I have found the brilliant Lu Xun to be a wonderful companion to the brilliant Akutagawa, despite any differences in aims and objectives that may exist.


  3. says:

    Asking myself why I hadn t read Lu Xun earlier when I knew he was highly praised and a must read He seems to be to China what Natsume Soseki is to Japan He lived during a time of great social and political change, the Qing dynasty had been toppled and the republic proclaimed, many of his stories deal with this Some are funny and satirical, others are just sad and gut wrenching One story that I found really good dealt with a father trying to take care of his sick son, trying to find ingredients medicine for him Lu Xun tells us his views on this and other ancient beliefs His father had died after being treated with traditional chinese medicine, the toxic concoctions poisoned him.


  4. says:

    There is no need to share Yiyun Li s bizarre distaste for Lu Xun s rejection of fate 413 in her postface, in order to grasp her problems with his fiction this self appointed cultural doctor of modern China delivers a diagnosis of his nation s past and present ailments, but fail for all his much vaunted leftism to offer or even suggest any medication The poor are stupid and mean, the rich are vain and selfish, and in between a whole cast of ponderous Confucian fools, of half baked modern women or of bitter, blind and brutal elders, persecute with all the complacent diligence of tradition, a few victims too weak or naive to grasp how the game is to be played This is an convenient posture, widespread in fin de si cle Europe, and generally excused by Giovanni Papini, for example with a self serving Qui aime bien ch tie bien At any rate, snide satire aside, Lu Xun is not stricto sensu a modernist, at least not in the Western sense his episodic novella The True Story of Ah Q was deemed revolutionary when it appeared at the close of 1921, because it was written in vernacular Chinese, rather than because of any subjectivist or experimental parti pris However much I like the idea of a post colonial modernism with its promises of abundant modernities and attending modernist reactions I think that Western labels never fit too well with texts Iqbal, Senghor, etc endeavouring to catch up with centuries of perceived Western headway toward an elusive modernity Lu Xun, for example, is China s Chateaubriand, Balzac and Joyce rolled into one which is to say that Lu Xun is Lu Xun The two best known of his stories are The Diary of a Madman , and the aforementioned The True Story of Ah Q 79 123 Ah Q in fact has become a stock character of modern Chinese culture, somewhat like Mme Bovary in Europe and beyond His story is that of a village idiot, Brutti, sporchi e cattivi, and his twin strategies to assuage the perpetual humiliation visited upon him by the local pecking order The first manoeuvre is to convince himself of his moral superiority, recasting each of his discomfitures into a spiritual victory again, this reminds me of the Italian nationalists reaction to Caporetto The second is to victimize each and everyone below him in the village s hierarchy In those terms, the story seem bleaker than it actually is Lu Xun offers no dostoevskian katabasis to psychological hell, but a sardonic vignette with occasional bouts of slapstick humor I probably lack much of the cultural background to appreciate every reference and echo, but I found it a little underwhelming The Diary of a Madman 21 31 is appealing, built as it is on a well trodden trope of the lunatic s journal The unnamed narrator, the educated son of a wealthy rural family, slides into paranoia, convinced that his village has relapsed into cannibalism The laughter of children, the concerned look of his neighbour, the caring of his family, all appear invariably as clues to a darker design Cannibalism, I start to suspect, plays a peculiar role in classical Chinese culture even there than elsewhere Here is the 4th century b.c.e Confucian Mencius, for example, condemning the two rival extremist schools of Mo Zi and Yang Zhu If the way of Yang and Mo does not subside and the way of Confucius is not proclaimed, the people will be deceived by heresies and the path of morality will be blocked When the path of morality is blocked, then we show animals the way to devour men, and sooner or later it will come to men devouring men.Cannibalism seems the Chinese bellum omnium contra omnes that buttresses the mostly conservative ritual order of Confucianism though at first I thought that cannibalism was a metaphor for the self seeking bourgeoisie of the warlord era, in light of Lu Xun s far committed rejection of Qing and Confucian values and traditions, I now lean toward a convoluted interpretation It might however be precisely this departure from straightforward didacticism that make this story quite compelling Here as in the rest of the book, rural life and village culture plays a central role I was glad to find such vivacious and colourful illustration of a period I knew little about, and which it is difficult for the Westerner to picture However my favourite stories are those, in Lu Xun s second collection Hesitation , that often abandon the easy effects of the rustic burlesque which I suspect to be nearly as foreign to his urbane audience as to us in favour of reflexive and inventive sketches Take A happy family 188 194 for example the story opens on a writer s lofty if laborious declaration as to the infinite duties and immortal dignity of the writer The lucubration is cut short, however, by the actual writer s most earthly concern put fire in his stove, food on his table, his wife out of his study and his family at peace That whole ponderous business he was writing was merely a misguided attempt at giving the public what it seeks, and is swiftly abandoned in favour of a straight forward and satisfying vignette, describing the day to day life of a modern and successful family in a large town As the vignette unfolds, interspersed with the writer s reflections and the events that surround him, it becomes clear that the romanticized wish fulfilment he peddles to his readers under the guise of modernity, is at least as much an escape of his own mediocre existence as it is escapism for his readership A similar theme returns, albeit in a different key, with In Memoriam 254 274 the narrator recalls his affair love and life with a Chinese Neue Frau, who courageously flee a wealthy but oppressive and authoritarian family to live with him Whereas in A happy family the real keeps intruding into the fiction and its writing process, here the writer fails continuously to find employment or to live up to his dream Their boh me, however, ne voulait pas dire on est heureux in fact, Zijun, whom the narrator admired so much, becomes increasingly prosaic and mediocre as time passes, caught as she is in the narrowness of a life of poverty, without the promises and fresh air of literature This short story is a harsh, full frontal look at falling out of love, with its mixture of guilt and disgust, of spite and self hatred The dire consequences, for women of this era, of the disembedding of love from marriage is also gestured toward, though Lu Xun wisely refrain from passing a judgement He also wrote an essay titled My Views on Chastity which I would like to read In the same collection, The Loner 232 253 is also particularly striking, with its psychological finesse and its Russian mood, full of very unexpected twists and turns, eventually leading to a fate worse than death There are at least two Lu Xun that of the village, and that of the boh me As the story of the PCF and its writers makes abundantly clear, there were many bridges between the two, but when Lu Xun writes of the hinterland, his characters owe to the Commedia del Arte or Beijing Opera, for that matter than to the depths and insights of his urban portraits He might have been aware of this, as he attempts to balance this popular character with a large dose of acerbic cynicism, which replaces the melancholic sympathy he has for his starving bohemians Though the snapshots of pastoral China are interesting in their own right, the vitriol and the burlesque fail to live up to the author s project The book is an accessible foray into Chinese literature, and will be of interest to anyone curious of Chinese history, the place of tradition in that seemingly most modern of civilisation, as well as those interested in the spread and transformation of European cultural models around the world I m afraid I cannot vouch for its literary merits, though, which might be self evident in the original, but were, in translation, never striking.


  5. says:

    The Real Story of Ah Q and Other Tales of China The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun ISBN 9780140455489The complete fiction of Lu Xun real name Zhou Shuren, 1881 1936 beginning with a short stand alone story Nostalgia followed by Outcry, 1923 14 stories , Hesitation, 1926 11 stories and Old stories retold, 1936 8 stories Stories in Outcry and Hesitation are powerful and magnificent Sadly, I m not familiar with Chinese legends and tales to fully appreciate the story collection Old stories retold but I did like them anyway.


  6. says:

    Knowing of and about Chinese history than Chinese literature, which is not to say a great deal, and wanting to read Chinese narrative authors if only in translation, I asked a friend for recommendations She suggested, inter alia, Lu Xun I have just finished this Penguin Classics edition of his thirty nine short stories, apparently his entire oeuvre in fiction he was also a prolific writer of essays and other kinds of non fiction Thus this book contains Diary of a Madman and The Real Story of Ah Q , two stories that I had at least heard of Straddling the 19th and 20th centuries, Lu Xun lived through a tumultuous period of Chinese history, including the continued decline and demise of Imperial China and the following wrenching, contradictory, and frequently disappointing aspects of subsequent Chinese political fortunes Educated as a child in traditional Confucian doctrine and experiencing a family history conforming with today s overused label, dysfunctional, Lu Xun abandoned the expected path to political and societal advancement, turning first to the study of medicine and then to literature as a means of cultural change His political adroitness enabled him to avoid the fate of many of his political contemporaries, but this of course exposed him to criticisms from both left and right His reputation today is somewhat ambiguous, as might be expected, but his role as one of the first and most successful in moving Chinese literature into modernism is probably undeniable.If there is a common thread linking these fascinating and satisfying short stories, it is their variety and experimental nature Lu Xun uses many forms legend, parable, myth, gritty realism, fantasy to probe and expose the flaws, foolishness, inconsistencies, narrowness, and irrationalities of Chinese society within his lifetime and experience, and many of these are transferable to our own and any culture His tone is usually ironic and dark, often simultaneously sympathetic and detached, and his approach is frequently deceptively simple It was a rare story that did not keep me fully engaged and intrigued Each provides a window into the life of common people in the usually rural China of the time as well as insights into literary styles and trends during Lu Xun s lifetime.After a lifetime of reading and enjoying novels, only during the past couple of years have I come to an increasing appreciation for and enjoyment of short stories as a literary genre, and I have been reading and of them Lu Xun s work has been a unique addition to this experience, a voice that I would have missed without the pleasure of these stories For those who have a similar interest and want to dip their linguistic toes into the literature of China, I recommend this book enthusiastically.


  7. says:

    This is quite a book Lu Xun s skill as a storyteller and writer shines through and i cannot help but to be captivated by his stories especially the Real Story of Ah Q which made me laugh at first but then, made me think afterward His stories are filled with life lessons that can still be useful today.


  8. says:

    An extraordinary collection of stories.Gave me some tremendous insights into the Chinese psyche.Lu Xun is rightly considered to be the founder of Modern Chinese literature.It was wonderful to have a preface written by Xun himself,where he gives the readers a picture of the Chinese literary and cultural scene.Decades of humiliation wrought by Western powers mainly through the annexation of territories and unequal treaties had taken their toll on the morale of the Chinese.Lu Xun was also very critical of traditional Chinese thinking as well as ancient superstitions which kept them harping on the glorious past of the Middle kingdom.He was heavily influenced by Russian and French writers and wished to put Chinese literature on a modern footing.He would often quote Liang Qichao the legendary Chinese intellectual who was the architect of social reforms in China that led to the overthrow of the hated imperial rule of the Manchu dynasty Qing If one intends to renovate the people of a nation,one must first renovate its fiction None did this with perfection than Lu.Chinese literature until then had been largely devoted to mythology,tales of chivalry and flowery romances Liang Qichao bemoaning the inadequacy of Chinese literature once observed Chinese novels teach us either robbery or lust Lu Xun transformed all that.In his The Real Story of Ah Q Xun mercilessly criticizes his fellow countrymen who on one hand are known for their supplication and servility to authority while at the same time show the least remorse in displaying heartless cruelty towards the weak.He identifies certain flaws in the Chinese character and argues for a universal humanism.I found a lot of similarities between Xun and Tagore in this aspect.The story that moved me the most was his The Diary of a Madman.It is about a man who thinks everyone around him is a cannibal and the Chinese people have been eating people for centuries.He is dismissed by his family and community as a lunatic.However as one gets deeper into the story one realizes that Xun is using a lot of metaphors.It is a critique of China s much vaunted Confucian traditions and Chinese history as also its present deplorable state.It dawns on us that it may be entirely feasible that the only one who is able to see reality for what it truly is happens to be the Madman The cannibalism the madman talks about is the baseness of human nature where humans continue to exploit each other and how China clings on to past traditions which keeps them stagnant.The prose seemed to possess a power that impacted my thinking in a very deep way.It clearly challenged the established norms of fiction writing.To think that Xun wrote this story in 1918 Another story that moved me was Tomorrow.This was about an impoverished single mother who lives with a young child.The child passes away after a prolonged illness and the mother tries to cope with his absence Xun describes the feelings of the mother with such haunting beauty.The room looks so different to her after her son s death.In the desolation of her house she tries hard to sleep.She consoles herself by thinking He may come back to me in a dream.There is pitch darkness outside agitating to become tomorrow s first light.Another story i liked was leaving the Pass featuring the great Chinese thinkers Laozi and Confucius Laozi is depicted as a wise old thinker whose teachings are not fully understood by people and Confucius is shown as an irritable and impatient,albeit brilliant man.Most people just pay lip service to Laozi s teachings and he decides to leave.Even as he is journeying westwards authorities flock to him demanding one last sermon.Now Laozi is perplexed as he always said The Way that can be spoken,is not the eternal Way.Still he writes a manuscript and leaves.The authorities then read it and one remarks It is the same boring stuff.Another quips I thought he would write about his love life.More exciting stuff So Xun parodies how the Chinese often revere their thinkers in a superficial manner bordering on hypocrisy.I could go on about all his other stories as well.There was not one among the 30 stories that i did not like.The sheer range of his stories,be it the themes or the characters,truly astounded me.The deep empathy in his stories really touched me Lu Xun is a great writer who deserves our untrammeled attention Xun often said that he was constantly battling loneliness all his life as his outspokenness and non conformist thinking tended to isolate him from the mainstream Chinese intelligentsia and sometimes even from his own family and the reason he chose to become a writer was..if only to offer comfort or sympathy to those fighting through their loneliness,and to alleviate their fears of the struggles ahead I think he succeeded admirably.


  9. says:

    I admired and enjoyed reading his Leaving the Pass and Anti Aggression since the author subtly characterized those Chinese sages and, I think, Lu Xun s outstanding and exceptional style has long established his brilliance as second to none For instance Do I find you well, master Confucius said, saluting him reverently As ever, Laozi answered It s been a while You have been burying yourself in books, no doubt Dabbling, merely dabbling, Confucius said modestly pp 373 4 Therefore, Dear Goodreads friends, we re stlll dabbling like the great sage.


  10. says:

    Even strongly ideological authors know that in order to reach a popular audience, their political ideas have to be layered underneath palatable narratives and relatable characters Great writers like Steinbeck or Zola did this well the mark of hacks like Ayn Rand is their inability to let their messages flow smoothly from the story and to say what they mean without shouting at the reader Lu Xun set himself a real challenge with his work here short stories can be an even difficult medium than novels to make political points, just because each story has to spend proportionately time on character development and so forth Not that it s impossible Varlam Shalamov s short stories in Kolyma Tales are in a way far effective at conveying the grim brutality of the gulag system than Solzhenitsyn s famous works precisely because Shalamov s points seem to emerge from the stories far organically but often the author has to hope that it s the subtle shared connections between stories that make the difference rather than any single moment within an individual story, the overall themes emerging in the manner of the rhythm of the clacking wheels of a train on a long journey.Lu s efforts succeed here in exactly that way, the cumulative effects growing stronger with each story He wrote these stories in the 1910s and 20s as China was taking some halfhearted steps to awaken itself from its centuries long torpor, and lurking in the background of just about every one of them are some consistent themes the gargantuan ineptitude of government bureaucracy, the humiliating obsequiousness of the powerless towards the powerful, the pathetic poverty of village life, the absurdities of slavish devotion to Confucianism, the suffocating incuriosity of the Chinese people, and the necessity of radical changes at all levels of society if China were to ever start addressing them I always respect authors who are willing to make bold criticisms of their own societies, because nothing is artistically easier or temptingly lucrative than to simply give people what s familiar and flattering to their own prejudices But these short stories, which are often very funny in their amused chronicling of universal human foibles, are incredibly uncomplimentary to basically every aspect of what at the time was a catatonic and stagnant culture, and Lu deserves real credit for his Nikolai Gogol esque portraits that are instantly relatable even as they depict people at their worst and least likable.The Penguin Classics edition I have groups three different short story collections together Outcry, Hesitation, and Old Stories Retold, with the title story halfway through the first collection Each tale has innumerable tiny details that make them feel much larger than their actual half dozen ish pages, odd names like Seven Pounds and loving descriptions of dirt and filth giving the impression that the reader is peering in at a succession of tiny fishbowls, the characters stuck swimming in tiny circles like firmly oppressed goldfish Sometimes the townsfolk suffer crushing tragedies, sometimes minor misfortunes Lu always finds a way to keep focus on the idiocy of rural life , and yet he never puts any polemics or multi page rants on the page, merely gentle irony at how funny all this senselessness is Ah Q s story itself is one of the best examples Its eponymous hero is an Ignatius P Reilly type loser who suffers endless humiliations yet always finds moral victories at the end of each one He does menial odd jobs throughout town, always messing things up while thinking himself far above whatever he s doing, leaping from blunder to blunder and desperately searching for people even weaker than he is to bully so he can feel better about himself, until he has a final encounter with the authorities that he can t cringe his way out of Apparently Marxists had a complicated relationship with the part where Ah Q decides to be a revolutionary but then sleeps through his chance to join them I personally thought that his poor luck there was a perfect complement to his general cowardice Village Opera is another one of my favorites from the first collection for the way it folds a funny criticism of Chinese opera into an evocative example of childhood nostalgia, or A Small Incident , where a man involved in a rickshaw accident ponders his own callousness and willingness to literally trample over other people to get where he needs to.The stories are even stronger in Hesitation, the second collection, I think because Lu had gotten experienced but also because they re slightly longer and give him room to work in The Loner is a long and moving look at a curiously arms length friendship bracketed at its beginning and end by funerals , with both the narrator and his somewhat distant friend s lives going through ups and down of fortune until fate decides to taketh away from the friend as surely as it had giveth to him It s quite sad, but the next one, In Memoriam , is by far the saddest, and possibly the best, of the whole lot Its depiction of the breakdown of two people s love and poor but happy marriage under the stresses of their terrible poverty and the weight of society s outdated norms is heartbreaking But Lu is also able to throw in hilarious bits like the guy in The Divorce who s trying to sell an anus stopper used by the ancients in burials, to stop up the anus of the deceased , which keeps the whole thing from getting too gloomy.Interestingly, the preface to the 30s era third collection Old Stories Retold mentions that it took by far the longest to write It s a mixture of retellings of well known episodes from Chinese mythology with historical fiction vignettes One of the best moments is at the end of Gathering Ferns , where a woman, who had inadvertently caused the starvation deaths of two brothers who were on a sort of hunger strike against a king they disliked, tells a made up story about a magic deer they had offended to the other townspeople to absolve herself of blame Heaven was so disgusted by their greed, he told the roe deer to stop coming They deserved to starve I had nothing to do with it they brought it on themselves, the greedy wretches Her audiences always sighed as she concluded her story the worry lifting from their bodies Now, if ever they thought of the brothers, they were hazy figures, squatted at the foot of a cliff, their white bearded mouths gaping open to devour the deer It s a great example of the desperate urge to avoid responsibility people have, and how eager we all are to swallow anything as long as it has a moral that fits our prejudices.The collection and the book closes with Bringing Back the Dead , a funny sendup of Daoism which wryly recasts the myth of Job as a joking discussion between philosopher Zhuangzi and the God of Fate that ends with a very confused, helpless resurrected corpse I was struck by the irony of Lu spending all this time writing about China s religious heritage and symbols of the past when his main literary goal had been to show how absurd China s decadence and stagnation was, but I suppose it makes sense that only someone who really loved the country, senile mythology, ideology, and all, could have had the proper perspective to write such scathing takedowns of its effects on people To use an American example, it reminded me a bit of the story of the Duke and the Dauphin in Mark Twain s Huckleberry Finn, where only someone who actually cared about the country could make a story of people s ignorance and gullibility so affectionate and amusing It s easy to see why later reformers and revolutionaries liked his work so much, but though it s unfortunate that this book contains essentially all the fiction he ever wrote since it means there s not any to read, there s enough great material in here to shame plenty of lesser authors who wrote far .


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