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Biography: Lu Xun in Shanghai
Born in 1881 to an impoverished but educated gentry family, Lu Xun went to Japan to study medicine in 1902. Troubled by what he saw as China's spiritual malaise, he abandoned medicine to pursue literature.

He became a writer, he said, after witnessing the cold indifference of Chinese onlookers during the execution of a Chinese prisoner during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). Reform, he wrote, was impossible without changing the mentality of the people.

From 1918 to 1926, Lu penned 25 highly influential stories, including what is considered the first story written in modern Chinese, ``The Diary of a Madman.'' By 1926, Lu was writing satirical essays, and also served as the head of the League of Left-wing Writers, which was based in Shanghai.

In addition to being instrumental in the creation of a more accessible modern Chinese language, the writer was an early advocate of ``Na Lai Zhu Yi,'' or the philosophy of drawing on the experience of more developed countries. As such, he translated a great many foreign literary works.

Spurred by anger over Kuomintang crackdowns on Communists and leftist students in Guangzhou, Lu spent his last 10 years in Shanghai, moving here from Guangzhou in 1927 with his wife Xu Guangping.

Already well-known as a literary figure, he turned down invitations to teach at universities in Shanghai, instead concentrating on writing essays and participating in leftist organizations. He was the founding member of the League of Left-Wing Writers and the China Freedom League, and also mentored many budding left-wing writers. Blacklisted by the Kuomintang, he was hunted down and had to hide in the home of a Japanese friend in the safety of the Concession area.

It was during this period that he began to embrace Communism, but he remained independent and did not joining the party.

On October 19, 1936, he died of tuberculosis in Shanghai.

Works of Lu Xun available in English Novels

"Call to Arms", "Wandering," "Old Tales Retold," "Selected Stories of Lu Xun'' (From "Call to Arms", "Wandering" and "Old Tale Retold") Novels, "The True Story of Ah Q", "Diary of A Madman" Essays and poems, "Wild Grass", "Dawn Blossoms Plucked at Dusk"

Others "A Brief History of Chinese Fiction"

(eastday.com October 4, 2002)

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