LIANG YUSHENG, PEN NAME OF CHEN WENTONG (1926—2009) - The Dictionary

Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010

The Dictionary

LIANG YUSHENG, PEN NAME OF CHEN WENTONG (1926—2009). Liang Yusheng graduated in 1949 from Lingnan University in Guangzhou with a degree in economics. Soon after, he became a translator and editor for a Hong Kong newspaper. Liang came to fame in 1952 when his martial arts novel Long hu dou jinghua (Dragon and Tiger Fight in the Capital) was published. The new techniques he employs in the novel had great appeal to the public and Liang is credited for having pioneered a new way of writing martial arts novels. For the next 30 years, Liang produced, on average, one book a year. His novels are invariably based on historical sources. Pingzong xiaying lu (Tracks of the Chivalric Wanderer) is based on General Yu Qian (1398—1457) of the Ming dynasty. Nüdi qiying zhuan (Biography of the Heroic Empress) is set in the turbulent years of the reign of Empress Wu (624—705) of the Tang dynasty. At the center of Liang’s novels is a contention for supremacy among different forces within the world of martial arts, which Liang then puts within larger historical events, such as dynastic changes and peasants’ uprisings. Liang also pays attention to his characters’ psychological states and their inner worlds of feelings and emotions, which are absent in traditional martial arts novels, thus enhancing the literary value of his novels. Liang died in Sydney, Australia, where he had lived since the 1980s.