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A Madmans Diary (Annotated) Lu Xun

A Madmans Diary (Annotated)

Lu Xun

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 About the Book 

A Madmans Diary was written in 1918 by Lu Xun, commonly considered one of the greatest writers in 20th-century Chinese literature. This short story is considered to be one of the first and most influential modern works written in vernacular Chinese.MoreA Madmans Diary was written in 1918 by Lu Xun, commonly considered one of the greatest writers in 20th-century Chinese literature. This short story is considered to be one of the first and most influential modern works written in vernacular Chinese. A Madmans Diary is an attempt by Lu Xun to describe the effects of feudal values upon the Chinese people. He uses an analogy of cannibalism to describe the way such outdated values eat away at the individual.The story would become a cornerstone of the New Culture Movement.It is the first story in the book Call to Arms, a collection of short stories by Lu Xun. Its title is influenced by Nikolai Gogols short story Diary of a Madman.The story is the alleged transcript of the diary entries of a madman who, according to the preface, delivered in Classical Chinese, has now been cured of his delusive paranoia. (The rest of the story/diary entries are written in vernacular Chinese.) After extensively studying Chinese history as outlined in the Four books and five classics of his culture, the diary writer, the supposed madman, began to see the words Eat People! written between the lines of the texts (Lu Xun implies this figuratively, although in the storys context, this could be read literally). Seeing the people in his village as potential man-eaters, he is gripped by the fear that everyone, including his brother, his venerable doctor and his neighbors, who are crowding about to watch him, are harboring cannibalistic thoughts on him.It is anti-traditional in the sense that the other characters are portrayed as heartless, bound to tradition, and cannibalistic, yet the madmans fears are depicted as genuine. Despite the brothers apparent genuine concern, the narrator still regards him as big a threat as any stranger. The insanity of the narrator is never proven, however. Towards the end the narrator turns his concern to the younger generation, especially his late sister (who died when she was five) as he is afraid they will be cannibalized. By then he is convinced that his late sister had been eaten up by his brother, and that the narrator might have unwittingly tasted her flesh.The story ends with a famous line: Save the children...