SHI ZHECUN (1905—2003)
SHI ZHECUN (1905—2003). Fiction writer, poet, essayist, translator, and scholar. As an artist, no one among his contemporaries was more inventive than She Zhecun. From composing classical poetry to creating modern verses, from his Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies (Yuanyang hudie) tales, to his New Sensibility (xin ganjue) stories, he put his energy to narrative innovations and is credited for having spearheaded the modernist movement in 20th-century Chinese literature. Best remembered for his psychoanalytical fiction, Shi was one of the first Chinese writers to use Western modernist techniques such as stream of consciousness and montage in his writings. Among his fictional work, “Jiangjun de tou” (The General’s Head), a historical tale, and “Meiyu zhi xi” (One Rainy Evening), a languorous story about a chance meeting between a man and a woman, are some of the best illustrations of modernist literature. With their exquisite descriptions of the psychological interiors of the characters, Shi’s works depart in a significant manner from the mainstream of modern Chinese literature.
After 1937, Shi gave up creative writing altogether for an academic career, becoming a prominent scholar on classical Chinese literature. In the Mao era, his name was erased from books on modern Chinese literature. He resurfaced in the 1980s, however, and his books were put back on the shelves of libraries and bookstores. Shi was equally at home inside the “four windows” (in his own words) he had opened: the study of classical literature, creative writing and editing, foreign literature translation and introduction, and ancient tombstone inscriptions. See also CULTURAL REVOLUTION; MODERNISTS.