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The true story of ah q bilingual series on modern chinese literature - The True Story of Ah-Q - Marxists Internet Archive


The fictional character of Walter Mitty, from writer James Thurber’s newspaper short story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” , first published in The New Yorker, on March 18, 1939.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Mitty

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a Walter Mitty as “an ordinary, often ineffectual person who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs”.

I can’t help but notice the striking similarity between Thurber’s fictional character (as well as the circumstances of how his story first saw publication), and one of the most beloved characters in modern Chinese literature, Lu Xun’s “Ah Q”.

The fictional character of Walter Mitty, from writer James Thurber’s newspaper short story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” , first published in The New Yorker, on March 18, 1939.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Mitty

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a Walter Mitty as “an ordinary, often ineffectual person who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs”.

I can’t help but notice the striking similarity between Thurber’s fictional character (as well as the circumstances of how his story first saw publication), and one of the most beloved characters in modern Chinese literature, Lu Xun’s “Ah Q”.

For several years now I have been meaning to write the true story of Ah Q. But while wanting to write I was in some trepidation, too, which goes to show that I am not one of those who achieve glory by writing; for an immortal pen has always been required to record the deeds of an immortal man, the man becoming known to posterity through the writing and the writing known to posterity through the man—until finally it is not clear who is making whom known. But in the end, as though possessed by some fiend, I always came back to the idea of writing the story of Ah Q.

The more he looked at him the angrier Mr. Chao became, and advancing menacingly a few steps he said, "How dare you talk such nonsense! How could I have such a relative as you? Is your surname Chao?"

Ah Q made no attempt to defend his right to the name Chao, but rubbing his left cheek went out with the bailiff. Once outside, he had to listen to another torrent of abuse from the bailiff, and thank him to the tune of two hundred cash. All who heard this said Ah Q was a great fool to ask for a beating like that. Even if his surname were Chao—which wasn't likely—he should have known better than to boast like that when there was a Mr. Chao living in the village. After this no further mention was made of Ah Q's ancestry, so that I still don't know what his surname really was.

The fictional character of Walter Mitty, from writer James Thurber’s newspaper short story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” , first published in The New Yorker, on March 18, 1939.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Mitty

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a Walter Mitty as “an ordinary, often ineffectual person who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs”.

I can’t help but notice the striking similarity between Thurber’s fictional character (as well as the circumstances of how his story first saw publication), and one of the most beloved characters in modern Chinese literature, Lu Xun’s “Ah Q”.

For several years now I have been meaning to write the true story of Ah Q. But while wanting to write I was in some trepidation, too, which goes to show that I am not one of those who achieve glory by writing; for an immortal pen has always been required to record the deeds of an immortal man, the man becoming known to posterity through the writing and the writing known to posterity through the man—until finally it is not clear who is making whom known. But in the end, as though possessed by some fiend, I always came back to the idea of writing the story of Ah Q.

The more he looked at him the angrier Mr. Chao became, and advancing menacingly a few steps he said, "How dare you talk such nonsense! How could I have such a relative as you? Is your surname Chao?"

Ah Q made no attempt to defend his right to the name Chao, but rubbing his left cheek went out with the bailiff. Once outside, he had to listen to another torrent of abuse from the bailiff, and thank him to the tune of two hundred cash. All who heard this said Ah Q was a great fool to ask for a beating like that. Even if his surname were Chao—which wasn't likely—he should have known better than to boast like that when there was a Mr. Chao living in the village. After this no further mention was made of Ah Q's ancestry, so that I still don't know what his surname really was.

Plot Summary
An unlucky handyman has a change of fortune when he gets involved with a revolt in turn-of-the-century China.




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