The Allure of the White Birch School to May Fourth Writers

Christopher T. Keaveney

in Beyond Brushtalk

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9789622099289
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206656 | DOI:
The Allure of the White Birch School to May Fourth Writers

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This chapter discusses the impact of Japan's White Birch School (Shirakabaha) on the contemporary Chinese literary world. The White Birch School was one of the best organized and ideologically focused of the Taishō period coteries. The idealism and humanism they espoused had an immediate impact on Chinese writers. The brothers, Zhou Zuoren (1885–1967) and Lu Xun, translated and championed the works of various of the School's members, although the writers to whom each of the brothers was attracted too reflect some fundamental aesthetic and ideological differences between the two men. Lu Xun's translation of Mushanokō ji Saneatsu's “A Certain Young Man's Dream” and its appeal is illustrated. Lu Xun's admiration for Arishima Takeo is also described. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the limits of aestheticism and the politicization of the May Fourth literary community.

Keywords: White Birch School; Japan; Zhou Zuoren; Lu Xun; Mushanokō ji Saneatsu; Chinese writers; Arishima Takeo; May Fourth literary community; aestheticism; politicization

Chapter.  9324 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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