Hu Shih Exhibition Vol 2 Held on April, 22nd 2017 at CBC in Beijing


Hu Shih Exhibition Vol 2 Held on April, 22nd 2017 at CBC in Beijing

April 22, 2017

On April 22, Columbia Global Centers | Beijing held the second public lecture for the exhibition of “Hu Shih in the Intellectual History of the 20th Century in China.” ZOU Xinming, Research Fellow at Peking University Library and Editor in Chief of the Bibliography of the Collection of Hu Shih, was the guest speaker to talk about "Hu Shih and His Understanding and Translation on Western Short Novels during His Time in the U.S." Over 40,000 people watched the lecture live through iFeng live-streaming. The Paper reported the event. Please click "Read More" to read.

“The literary revolution happened a hundred years ago still has great impacts on modern Chinese culture. Its significance deserves more research attention and reflection,” said Professor SONG Xiaoxia, Curator of the Hu Shih exhibition and Professor at China Central Academy of Fine Arts. “The Peking University Library stores Hu Shih’s full collection back in the U.S. Through these books and documents, especially the prefaces written by Hu Shih, we might have a clue on what kind of literary works was Hu Shih interested in, and how those works influenced his proposition for the literary revolution.”

During the lecture, Zou mentioned that when Hu Shih was in the U.S., he was exposed to a range of western novels including the Short Story Classics, chapter 13 of The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fictions, the Selected Stories Vol. III by Maupassant, and the Leberecht Hühnchen by Heinrich Seidel when Hu Shih was studying German. Hu Shih had also read a few British and American novels by English writer Rudyard Kipling and American writer O. Henry.

“As I notice through his selection on western novels, Hu Shih had a special preference for the stories by Maupassant, Daudet, and Chekhov. Five volumes of Maupassant’s short stories collection are included in Hu Shih’s collection at Peking University Library,” said Zou.


In the meantime, on July 13 of 1915, Hu Shih wrote to his uncle HU Jinren and expressed his solid understanding on western novels. He said: “There are two purposes of writing a novel – entertaining the people or aiding the world. Nevertheless, techniques on writing a novel could be no more than two – depicting the real or narrating a story. While novels in our country strengthen the real, western novels combines both of the styles. Therefore today, we’d better learn from the west and improve our own.”


Based on the existing documents, although Hu Shih first translated western novels mainly for increasing family income, by the time he prepared for the literary revolution, he had realized that translating western novels indeed contributed to the literary revolution: “Today I would want to create a new literature for my country, and I prefer to start with absorbing the western masterpieces. Through this way, it enables our people to observe and to learn, and eventually to be capable of creating our new literature (selected from Hu Shih’s letter to CHEN Duxiu on February 3 of 1916).”