LU QIAO, PEN NAME OF WU NASUN (1919—2002) - The Dictionary

Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010

The Dictionary

LU QIAO, PEN NAME OF WU NASUN (1919—2002). Fiction and prose writer. Born in Beijing and educated at the Southwest United University in Kunming, Lu Qiao left China in 1945 for the United States and graduated with a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University in 1954. Lu Qiao spent most of his professional life teaching art history at American universities. His scholarly publications are written in English, while his fiction and prose work is exclusively in Chinese, mostly written in the mid-20th century. Lu’s best-known work is a novel, Wei yang ge (The Unfinished Song), completed in the mid-1940s during the Sino-Japanese War (1937—1945) and published in 1957 in Hong Kong. The book is based on his own student days in Kunming, when the Japanese invasion forced the professors and students of China’s three elitist universities—Beijing University and Qinghua University in Beijing and Nankai University in Tianjin—to take refuge in the remote southwestern city. It centers on the students and the professors and local residents with whom they interact on a daily basis. Although the idealized student life is not altogether divorced from the war raging outside the bucolic campus, the author takes pains to deemphasize the national crisis, focusing instead on friendships and the pursuit of spiritual fulfillment. The novel evolves around four characters, all with attractive personalities and each in his or her own way working toward the goal of self-improvement and moral and ethical perfection. Lyrical and romantic in style, the novel is a eulogy for youth: a song of innocence. Lu Qiao’s other stories and essays are collected in Ren zi (Son), Chan qing shu (Letters of Regrets), and Shi chen ju (Living in the Mundane World).