YANG JIANG, PEN NAME OF JIANG JIKANG (1911— ) - The Dictionary

Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010

The Dictionary

YANG JIANG, PEN NAME OF JIANG JIKANG (1911— ). Prose and fiction writer, playwright, translator. Born in Beijing, Yang Jiang graduated from Dongwu University in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. She met her future husband, Qian Zhongshu, while doing graduate work at Qinghua University. Soon after their wedding, the couple set off for England, and later for France, to study literature. After they returned to China, Yang taught literature at Qinghua University. After 1949, she worked at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences until her retirement in 1989.

Prior to 1949, Yang wrote some plays, including the comedies Chenxin yuyi (To the Heart’s Content) and Nong jia cheng zhen (Make-Believe Becomes Reality), and short stories. However, she was not widely known until the 1980s, when she was recognized with the publication of her memoir, Ganxiao liu ji (Six Chapters from My Life Down-under), which recounts the life of a group of intellectuals, including herself and her husband, Qian Zhongshu, sent to the countryside from 1969 to 1972 to undergo ideological education through physical labor. Another memoir published in 2003, entitled Women sa (The Three of Us), recalls the days when her husband and their daughter were still alive and describes in loving memory the warmth of an intellectual family and the power of their love for one another. The best known of her fictional work, Xizao (Shower), published in the 1980s, portrays a group of intellectuals who returned to China from abroad in the 1950s and how they survive the political campaigns aimed at the educated. Faced with hard choices that are made more excruciating because of their belief in the importance of morality and basic human decency, these scholars reveal, each in his or her own painful emotional tribulations, the fundamental needs of humanity.

In addition to her creative work, Yang is also a noted translator of English, French, and Spanish literature. Her translation of Don Quixote is regarded as the best rendition into Chinese of the Spanish masterpiece. See also CULTURAL REVOLUTION; SPOKEN DRAMA; WOMEN.