LI GUANGTIAN (1906—1968)
LI GUANGTIAN (1906—1968). Essayist and poet. Born in Zouping, Shandong Province, Li Guangtian came under the influence of the May Fourth New Culture Movement while a student at the Jinan Number One Teachers’ School. He began writing poetry and prose after becoming a student at Beijing University. Hanyuan ji (Hanyuan Collection), a poetry collection that contains works by Li and fellow Beijing University students Bian Zhilin and He Qifang, established his fame, though he later wrote more prose than poetry. In 1935, when he graduated from Beijing University, he returned to Jinan and continued to write while holding a teaching job. After the Sino-Japanese War broke out, Li wandered in Sichuan for several years before joining the faculty of the Southwest United University in Kunming. During this time, he wrote the novel Yinli (Gravitation), in addition to several collections of essays including Huisheng (Echoes), Huanxi tu (Picture of Happiness), and Guanmu ji (Shrubs). Li’s essays are characterized by simplicity and naturalness, and they impart a sense of freedom of movement and an earthy touch with reality. After the war, he taught at Nankai University and Qinghua University. He joined the Communist Party in 1948, and in 1952 he was appointed president of Yunnan University and moved back to Kunming. At the height of the Cultural Revolution, Li became a victim of political persecution and was found dead in a lake in a northern suburb of Kunming. See also MODERNISTS.