LU LING (1923—1994)
LU LING (1923—1994). Novelist and playwright. For the appearances of his writings in Qi yue (July), a literary journal edited by Hu Feng in the 1930s and 1940s, Lu Ling was forever associated with the so-called July school and suffered because of it. His best work is the novel Caizhu de ernümen (Sons and Daughters of a Landlord), about a prominent family being ruined when the children vie with one another for the family inheritance. Through the vicissitudes in the fortunes of the sons and daughters of a powerful landlord, the novel reveals the intricate historical path modern Chinese intellectuals have followed. The descriptions of violent internal conflicts and the tortured psychological states of the characters are strikingly original for early modern Chinese literature. Other important fictional works by Lu include Ji’e de Guo Su’e (The Hungry Guo Su’e), a novella praised by critics for its expression of basic humanity, and Woniu zai jingji shang (A Snail in Thorns), a psychological study of a pathetic character who hovers between spiritual paralysis and utter savagery, as well as “Luo Dadou de yisheng” (The Life of Luo Dadou), about the degenerated son of an old family, and “Yuyan” (Prediction), which deals with the tragic fate of a woman who works far away from her family. Lu’s best-known play is a four-act tragedy written in 1947 entitled Yunque (Skylark), which established him as a leading dramatist.
In 1954, Lu Ling was jailed as one of the core members of the “Hu Feng Anti-Party Clique,” tragically ending a brilliant career. He spent the next 20 years in prison, until Hu Feng’s rehabilitation in the late 1970s allowed Lu Ling to be released. From the early 1980s, Lu Ling tried his hand at poetry and prose, but old age and poor health owing to many years of nightmarish life in prison made it impossible for him to recapture the vitality of his past. His earlier works, banned for decades, have now been made available. See also SPOKEN DRAMA.