ZHENG ZHENDUO (1898—1958)
ZHENG ZHENDUO (1898—1958). Essayist, fiction writer, translator, and editor. Born into a poor family in Yongjia, Zhejiang Province, Zheng Zhentuo graduated from the Beijing Railway Management School. When the May Fourth Movement broke out, Zheng eagerly embraced its ideals. A leading voice in the New Culture Movement, Zheng was instrumental in promoting the development of modern Chinese literature. He was a founding member of several organizations, including the Literary Research Society, which advocated realism and opposed art for art’s sake, and the Minzhong Xiju She (Society of People’s Theater), which promoted spoken drama. Known for his work as editor of a variety of literary journals, including the influential Fiction Monthly, which was responsible for establishing trends in modern Chinese literature, Zheng called on Chinese writers to express authentic feelings and to produce works of “blood and tears.” Zheng’s own creative work consists of numerous essays including those collected under the title Ouxing riji (Diary of My European Journey), written in the late 1920s during his two-year exile in France on suspicion of Communist connections, and fictional works, “Qu huo zhe de daibu” (The Arrest of the Fire-Stealer) and “Jiating de gushi” (The Tale of a Family). Among his translations are Russian fiction, Greek myths, and Indian fables. After 1949, Zheng was appointed director of the Bureau of Cultural Relics, director of the Literary Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and deputy minister of culture, among other official positions. He died in a plane crash while leading a government delegation to visit Afghanistan and the Middle East.