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Selected Stories of Lu Hsun

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  390 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Living during a time of dramatic change in China, Lu Hsun had a career that was as varied as his writing. As a young man he studied medicine in Japan but left it for the life of an activist intellectual, eventually returning to China to teach. Though he supported the aims of the Communist revolution, he did not become a member of the party nor did he live to see the Commun ...more
Hardcover, 255 pages
Published 1978 by Foreign Languages Press (first published January 1st 1972)
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Apr 11, 2012 Sophie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great collection. The last story, "Forging the Swords" was totally amazing.

"A summer night is short."

"At such times even every inch of yearn she spun seemed worthwhile and alive."

"Old Mrs. Ninepounder, who was in a towering temper, whacked the legs of her stool with a tattered plantain fan."

"You know how it was in the time of the Long Hairs: keep your hair and lose your head; keep your head and lose your hair..."

"When Mrs. Sevenpounder heard that it was written down in a book, she really gave u
Jun 22, 2013 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A laudable collection of short stories. As with any collection, there are some standouts. Lu Xun's most famous works are "A Madman's Diary" and "The True Story of Ah-Q," and for good reason. Both had me cackling with delight. "Forging the Swords" was delightful as well - the climactic scene will stay with you for a very long time. I was also quite moved by "The New Year's Sacrifice."
Fulya İçöz
The first time I read Lu Xun was 20 years ago, when I was a teenager. I remember liking his verisimilitude. This collection of his short stories also talk about rural china & criticism of feudal society. My favourite stories are Diary of a Madman and Soap by far. Some of the stories are so distant and difficult to grasp since I don't know the history of China very well.
Madhav  Sinha
Apr 23, 2014 Madhav Sinha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had come across 'the true story of Ah Q' way back in 1980s when I was privileged to see the Bengali theatre adaptation "Jagannath".
Almost immediately I borrowed a selection of his stories in Bengali "LU HSUNer nirvachit galpo" edited and translated by Sandip Sengupta (Katha o Kahini) and read all the stories. The very first story in the book was 'dairy of a madman' and the seventh story was 'the true storey of Ah Q'.
Thereafter I bought every LU XUN (or LU HSUN as he was known then) books I cou
Oct 16, 2014 Tolliver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: may-fourth
Lu Xun's heartbreakingly stark prose reflects the pain as well as the iconoclasm and creativity of a generation faced with impossible choices: “during the last thirty years with my own eyes I have seen the blood of so many young people mounting up that now I am submerged and cannot breathe.” (p. 276, The Gate of Heavenly Peace). Young patriots risked everything for their ideals; the old sat comfortably at home and wrote the eulogies of young patriots. Marxism provided a bridge between intellectu ...more
Beth Cato
Jun 25, 2015 Beth Cato rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, chinese, 2015
I read this for research purposes and found it very useful in that regard, though overall it's not a book that I liked. However, Lu Hsun must be looked at within the context of the time period in which he wrote: around 1920, in China. The particular edition of the book that I have was actually printed in China in the late 1970s; the author apparently later became a favorite of the communist party and Mao Zhedong.

Some of the stories are in a more feudal setting, while others are quite clearly con
Eric Hinkle
Apr 07, 2014 Eric Hinkle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of mostly-brilliant stories from this legend (said to be the most famous Chinese author of the modern age). It's interesting that aside from this collection, he doesn't have many more fictional works of note. He was mainly an essayist, and it's remarkable that these stories really don't give the impression of being written by such an author. It's a testament to his (underused) creative powers that his few stories have had such a lasting impact.

"Regret of the Past" is one of the mor
Patrick Wallace
Dec 11, 2013 Patrick Wallace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Lu Xun (1881-1936) was the first modern Chinese writer, and perhaps the greatest Chinese writer of the 20th century. Unlike Chinese writers before him, he rejected traditional, formal literary styles and used the modern Chinese dialect to write his stories. As a writer, he was also an insightful and sometimes scathing social critic. He sought to use literature to bring to light the problems in China, and bring social change.

Like many in the pre-War Chinese intelligentsia, Lu was a revolutionary,

This collection of short stories is Lu Xun’s way of expressing his frustration and criticism of Chinese society. He comments on multiple aspects of Chinese society, many of which I can’t even guess. ;) But I do know some, but frankly, it’s boring to write so I’ll share only my favorite (the one I wrote an essay on!) of Lu Xun’s many purposes. Lu Xun divides the Chinese people of his time into three distinct groups—all of which he criticizes. The first division –and the group he hates the most-- ...more
Ethan Cramer-Flood
Lu Hsun is a mammoth figure in Chinse literature. He mostly wrote in the 1910s and 1920s and he was as much a giant in his time as he is today. A notorious reformer who advocated for an end to imperial governance, Hsun generally sided with the communists over the nationalists during China's turbulent transitional period. More importantly, he revolutionized prose in the Middle Kingdom. Hsun was the first author to write in and popularize the vernacular form in fiction. Before Hsun, average Chines ...more
Pam Richmond
Mar 06, 2016 Pam Richmond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was checked out for an online class. Unfortunately, I couldn't complete the class, as the Chinese classics are not available in my local library and I was unable to find an alternate source that was affordable.
Was able to check this out, and it was astounding. Stories were short, heavy with dialogue, and very little back-story. Just enough internal monologue to gauge the emotion-state of the character.
They include snippets, snapshots--like having lunch with an old friend after having
Jan 17, 2012 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with all of Lu Hsun's work, he uses the short stories in this collection to criticize the society he lives in. I haven't read all of the short stories. The stories I read are "Kung-I-Chi", "Medicine", "Storm in a Teacup" and "Soap". In "Kung-I-Chi", the title character clearly seems to have been a member of the elite until he failed his exams; causing him to become unemployable and someone to be mocked and laughed at by the rest of society. "Medicine" is the story of a family with a sick chil ...more
Ah Q was a mean to his neighbors--hit the bald head of a nun from the Convent of Quite Self-Improvement. Ah Q also lost his job because of his misogynistic insults. He left town and became a robber. When the revolution came to town (i.e. communism), he was trying to join, but they didn't want him. Eventually his head was cut off.

In modern Chinese language, the term the "spirit of Ah Q" or "Ah Q mentality" is used commonly as a term of mockery to describe someone who chooses not to face up to re
Oct 08, 2012 Molly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think, if I read these stories individually, scattered--an anthology, The New Yorker--I would have enjoyed the little slivers of Lu Hsun, but in a collection, there was something relentless, as if I was starting over with each story, one about a child lost to illness, then another, about adults failing to conform and coppers and dirt roads. Perhaps it was my approach; I should have saved these as one story every few weeks, but I cannot read this way--if a book lingers at my bedside table, it i ...more
Nov 04, 2011 Arturo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book if you were ever interested in foreign authors, the fact that it is a collection of short stories is great for those of you who don't want to jump in with two feet into an entire book. some of the stories read a bit like fables--were the characters are not as fully developed as characters are as today. i imagine certain things get lost in translation but, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it is just a different style of writing [which i found refreshing after reading herman melvill ...more
language overwhelms me.... lu xun is my spiritual father. reading him is like drinking cold water...
Oct 18, 2016 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china, literature
Reading Lu Xun is a must for anyone who studies modern Chinese history like I do. While the English translations get at the fact that Lu Xun was indeed the first modern literature writer in Chinese history, they cannot capture some of the beauty (in my opinion) of the original Chinese. The traditional background of Lu Xun is lost in simple English translation. When you read in the original Chinese, you know Lu Xun's educational and literary background comes through with his word choice and the t ...more
Maryam AL-Ghafri
" my old home and " A" small incident " are two short stories I have read from this story collection by lu Xun. Both stories try to show the economic division can causes social and cultural differences.
Economic division relates to monastery division within society . The difference between the rich, middle class, and the poor. for example in " my old home" the main character meets his childhood friend after 20 years. His friend started to call him " Master" because he become a rich person.

Apr 16, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some stories are definitely better than others, and if you don't read Ha Jin's introduction, a lot is lost. Furthermore, if you don't know other context, it can also radically take away from the experience.

But this is one of the most important, influential authors in Chinese history today because Mao really liked him. Many of his stories strongly affect Chinese society, and even an abbreviated version of Kung Yichi was featured in a textbook of mine.

Kung Yichi in particular really moved me, but
Apr 04, 2013 Wolf rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chinese-lit
I enjoyed a few of the stories, and they were written well. They just didn't interest me as a whole. Madman's Diary and Forging of the Swords were my favorite pieces. The others were fine, too, but not particularly moving. Lu Hsun's undertone of nostalgia throughout all the stories was good, but somewhat mind-numbing after an hour of reading him.

I'm also not a fan of horror, and although his writing isn't really that genre, a few of his stories were fairly creepy. And I mean really creepy.
May 14, 2007 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china
Had a greater impact on me, I think, since I currently live in the town of Lu Xun's tales, and live on the college campus that boasts a large bronze statue of the author at its front gate. These mostly tragic short stories cast murky light onto a past China whose inhabitants share the same worries, fears, and delights of modern day residents. A powerful translation.
So that's finally over.

A few of the stories had some rather fine points, but the selection as a whole is emotionally bleak, especially the stories considering the tragedies that the common folk of that particular time had to go through. I don't know, I guess I expected more from the so-called "Father of modern Chinese literature".
Aaron Crossen
May 07, 2007 Aaron Crossen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Great firsthand introduction to Chinese culture. Lots of allegories explain the roots of China's cultural conservatism – with plenty of Confucian influence – and the legacies 6000+ years of history leaves. An easy, often entertaining read. East Asia buffs, read this. Should take a day or so.
Sam Gammons
Mar 13, 2008 Sam Gammons rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I wasn't crazy about this translation. Lu Xun penned some of the greatest works in Chinese fiction, and much of the "baihua" in Lu Xun's own writing is missed in this technical translation.
Feb 05, 2008 Sherry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Hsun's writings. It's several short stories, but they are very involved and complete. He just gives wonderful insight into various lifes. My particular favorite is the Madman. It's told from the mad man's story and is very engaging and interesting.
Al Maki
Mar 17, 2014 Al Maki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think Lu Hsun belongs on the small shelf that holds Chekhov and Kafka.
Feb 22, 2011 Jerjonji rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chinese-lit
A series of earth shattering short stories, I found them frustrating at times because I couldn't put them into their appropriate cultural perspective. I need an annotated copy!
Jan 17, 2009 Dave rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Crossroads Infoshop in the thrift store on 63rd off Troost are the best places to get books in Kansas City, no lie.
Caitlin Schultz
Jun 29, 2014 Caitlin Schultz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite stories are My Old Home, Village Opera, In the Wine Shop, and A Happy Family.
Nov 24, 2015 Shane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of Lu Hsun's short stories; particularly good are An Incident, My Old Home, and Village Opera.
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Lu Xun (鲁迅) or Lu Hsün (Wade-Giles), was the pen name of Zhou Shuren (September 25, 1881 – October 19, 1936), a leading figure of modern Chinese literature. Writing in Vernacular Chinese as well as Classical Chinese, Lu Xun was a novelist, editor, translator, literary critic, essayist, and poet. In the 1930s he became the titular head of the League of Left-Wing Writers in Shanghai.

(from Wikipedia)
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“I felt that if a man's proposals met with approval, it should encourage him; if they met with opposition, it should make him fight back; but the real tragedy for him was to lift up his voice among the living and meet with no response neither approval nor opposition just as if he were left helpless in a boundless desert.” 16 likes
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