YU QIUYU (1946— )
YU QIUYU (1946— ). Essayist. One of the most popular writers in China today, Yu Qiuyu was educated in Shanghai and has spent a great part of his career teaching theater and drama in colleges. He rose to fame in the 1990s with a collection of essays on historical figures and events entitled Wenhua ku lii (A Difficult Journey across Cultures). Subsequently, he published more essays, which continue to draw a large readership. His work addresses a variety of topics, from ancient Greek culture to contemporary Shanghai life. Running through his numerous essays is the theme of patriotism from the perspective of a Chinese intellectual whose sense of responsibility for his nation and its cultural heritage echoes the so-called anxiety complex of the traditional scholar-official in ancient China. A controversial figure and academic celebrity whose essays are written for popular consumption, Yu has drawn many detractors, who accuse him of peddling cheap sentimentalism and showmanship, evidenced by his frequent television appearances and promotional events. In the meantime, however, his books are being sold in large quantities, making him one of the richest writers in China. In addition to essays, Yu has written books on the aesthetics of the theater.