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276 China Review International: Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 1995 Philip F. Williams. Village Echoes: The Fiction ofWu Zuxiang. Boulder, San Francisco and Oxford: Westview Press, 1993. vii, 303 pp. Hardcover $44.00. Wu Zuxiang, who was active as a writer offiction in the 1930s and early 1940s, could ask for no more than this meticulous and sympatiietic literary biography. Philip Williams' book rescues him from the relative obscurity to which he was consigned, despite his popularity with the readers ofhis day, for his nonpartisanship in the literary infighting of republican China. His early fiction was derided by Lu Xun as "stuck in die position of a petty-bourgeois writer" (p. 101), a judgment that led to die omission ofWu's story "1800 Bushels" from Harold Isaacs' influential and tendentious antiiology Straw Sandals. Mao Dun was to twist the knife further with his condemnation ofWu as an "out-and-out objectivist" with "limited experience in life," a critique which Professor Williams believes helped to "stifle critical opinion ofWu Zuxiang's best fiction" (p. 106) and which clearly rankled the author halfa century later. While this book presents Wu as a distinctive writer, his career is in many ways a microcosm of republican literature. Removed from the countryside as an urban intellectual studying at Qinghua University in Beijing, he nonetheless recreated his birthplace (Maolin in Anhui Province) with considerable success, often employing the typical May Fourth ambivalent and ironic ruling-class narrator as the intermediary between village society and a city-based readership. From a critical probing of the evils of republican China, Wu Zuxiang moved widi the times following the Japanese invasion toward "popularization and increasingly hortatory discourse" (p. 121), concluding in the early 1940s with his longest work, the novel Mountain Torrent, complete with a Stakhanovite hero who has a penchant for metaphysical introspection. In Professor Williams' elegant formulation : "Wu Zuxiang's literary career thus ended in die 1940s widi neither a bang nor a whimper, but a salute and a forced smile ofhope" (p. 141). Village Echoes consists of a chronological journey through Wu's early life and literary career, with an analysis of important works in the order of their publication , followed by short essays on style ("technical proclivities"), an account of Wu's activities and reception in the half-century since the publication of Mountain Torrent, and a brief conclusion. Insights into Wu's writing appear in the first and second sections, which might perhaps have been combined to better effect. Professor Williams' observation that in Wu's fiction "the elite are portrayed asĀ© 1995 by University morally unfit to govern their upright subjects" (p. 124) is nowhere more clearly ofHawai'i Pressillustrated than in "Little Lord Guanguan's Tonic," die story that brought Wu to public notice in 1932. With an irony that Professor Williams finds reminiscent of Maupassant, Wu uses the parasitic Guanguan as the narrator ofthe story in which Reviews 277 his worthless life is saved, first by the blood ofdie tenant farmer Baldy, transfused following a near-fatal car accident, and then by the milk ofBaldy's wife, drunk as a tonic. Throughout, Guanguan retains his contempt for the peasant classes and relishes the brutality with which Baldy is publicly executed. Like his contemporaries Shen Congwen and Qian Zhongshu, Wu forsook literary creation for scholarly pursuits following the communist victory in 1949. Though a significant contributor to the literature of the republican period, Wu did not amass a sufficient body ofoutstanding work to qualify as a leading figure. Still, he has received less attention than he merits; this study, enriched by interviews with die audior and readings ofhis diaries, goes a long way toward redressing the balance for Western readers. Richard King Canadian Embassy, Beijing lid Nigel Wiseman, with Ken Boss, translators and compilers. Glossary of Chinese Medical Terms and Acupuncture Points. Brookline, Massachusetts: Paradigm Publications, 1990. Ix, 477 pp. Hardcover $55.00. The translation oftechnical terminology from one language to another is often problematic, but when the translation also crosses fields with different conceptual and ontological origins, the difficulties are even greater. In the specific case at hand, die translation of Chinese terms used in traditional Chinese medicine into English , there...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 276-277
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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