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date: 30 March 2020

Lu Xun [Lu Hsün; Chou Shu-jen; Zhou Shuren] locked

(b Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, Sept 25, 1881; d Shanghai, Oct 19, 1936).
  • Eugene Yuejin Wang


[Lu Hsün; Chou Shu-jen; Zhou Shuren]

(b Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, Sept 25, 1881; d Shanghai, Oct 19, 1936).

Chinese woodcut-printmaker, writer and critic. Already in childhood his imagination was caught by popular fiction illustrations, which were to resurface in his later writing. His sojourn in Japan (1902–9) was a turning-point, convincing him that literature and art rather than medicine made a nation healthy. From 1912 to 1926 he was employed in the Ministry of Education in Beijing, supervising and coordinating art-related affairs. For the next year he taught at Xiamen University in Fujian Province; later he chaired the Department of Literature at Sun Yat-sen (Zhongshan) University, Guangzhou (Canton). The last ten years (1927–36) of Lu’s life in Shanghai were the most productive in terms of publication.

Lu was an anti-formalist. He believed that artists fulfil a Messianic role in expressing the collective soul. In Ni bobu meishu yijianshu (‘Views on the promulgation of fine arts’; 1913), one of the first modern Chinese art manifestos, Lu Xun boldly attempted a new definition of art, distinguishing it from relics and rarities and emphasizing its conceptual base (‘no art without thought’). The chief virtue he saw in Western art was the primacy of social urgency, and he ardently commended to a Chinese audience the works of such artists as Käthe Kollwitz and Carl Meffert (...

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