Or the plea to save the children even though these

This preview shows page 6 - 8 out of 23 pages.

or the plea to save the children – even though these are among the first things anyone would mention about “Diary” today. In subsequent months, he wrote, as he came across more writing by Lu Xun, 14 he always kept in mind this story, thinking, “ah, it is the author of ‘Diary of a madman’.” With Mao Dun’s information as background, it can be seen that the five items about “Diary” have the role of helping readers take note of the story and appreciate it as epochal rather than view it as strange. Of the five items, the three published in Xinchao ( New Tide ) form a group. Both the venue and the author immediately signal insider status. New Tide was founded in January 1919 by Peking University students, just as New Youth in those years was edited by mostly Peking University faculty. The author of the second and third items was Fu Sinian (born 1896 and aged 22 at this time). The unsigned first comment appeared in a regular column; if Fu did not write it, it is from someone like him 13. Wo zouguo de daolu ( Roads I Have Travelled ) (Beijing: Renmin wenxue she, 1981), Vol. 1, pp. 125–28. 14. The name Lu Xun appeared with two suiganlu in 1918 and with five essays and four stories in 1919.
1048 The China Quarterly in outlook and position. 15 As a student at Peking University and frequent contributor to New Youth , now a founder of New Tide , and soon to be a prominent student leader in the May Fourth demonstrations (as was each of the other founders of the magazine), Fu had all the connections to be an insider. At the time of the first item, in February, he did not yet know Lu Xun but he was known to him. We know this because in writing to his old friend Xu Shoushang, Lu Xun mentioned that Fu’s was the best writing in New Tide ’s inaugural issue. 16 By April, Fu had taken steps to become known to Lu Xun. In this month, he wrote to him 17 and the letter which Lu Xun wrote in reply the next day 18 was published in the May issue of New Tide , in which also appeared the final comment on “Diary.” His long letter primarily gives advice about various aspects of New Tide so far (four issues). It mentions “Diary,” but gives no interpretive help, only describing it as “very immature, really too forced.” It seems that Fu’s approach yielded further results, for in October, the magazine published “Mingtian” (“Tomorrow”). (Fu’s insider position may be con- trasted with the outsider status of other Peking University students even a year later. One later described how in December 1920, when it was announced that Zhou Shuren was engaged to lecture on the history of Chinese fiction, “many students” did not know that this was Lu Xun, and initially only some ten students signed up. Enrolment increased after the identification was made. 19 ) The three comments together provide guidance on similar points (the story’s style and technique) using similar methods (appeal to higher, European authority). The story’s style – elliptical, abrupt, repetitive, traits that are ostensibly present because its narrator is mad – was a major

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture