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    Capturing Chinese — Chinese literature

    Lu Xun's Dragonboat Festival

    Dragonboat Holiday or Dragonboat Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday falling on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.  It is also called Double Fifth.  The story is another story that closely follows Lu Xun's own life.  For an introduction to Lu Xun, then follow this link to An Introduction to Lu Xun.  Otherwise keep reading for a longer introduction to Dragonboat Holiday.

    Dragonboat Holiday



    端午节 was first published in September 1922 in Fiction Monthly (小说月报 Xiǎoshuō Yuèbào). After the establishment of the Republic, life did not change very much at first.  The overthrow of the Qing dynasty resulted in a Republic dominated by a military man, Yuán Shìkǎi (袁世凯), who did little to benefit the common people and improve government.  In the story, the main character chooses the pet phrase, “差不多”meaning "not much different."  Given the historical context of the times, one can understand why he would feel this way.  While the name of China changed, nothing much else did, causing Lǔ Xùn (known as Fāng Xuánchuò (方玄绰) in the story) to become disillusioned with the revolution and much else in life. 端午节 is Dragonboat Holiday in China and is a typical time to get paid and also to repay debts.  The story is about the main character, Fāng Xuánchuò, not getting paid for his teaching position or his government position and what he does about it (not much).  Basically his philosophy is to not do anything because everything will have the same result anyways. His family has to borrow from friends and relatives to make ends meet.  After a mass demonstration, in which Fāng Xuánchuò did not participate, the government finally issues back pay to the teachers and officials.  However, once the finance department has the checks to disperse, they refuse to issue to people like Fāng Xuánchuò who did not help in the protest.  Fāng Xuánchuò refuses to beg for his check which he believes he already rightly deserves.  Instead he goes to a good friend and asks for a temporary loan.  While his friend congratulates him on not capitulating to the finance department's demands, he quickly becomes incensed when he finds Fāng Xuánchuò is visiting only to ask for a loan.  Fāng Xuánchuò can't really blame his friend because he remembers doing the same thing.  When he was still getting paid, someone came to ask him for a loan.  Instead of helping out, Fāng Xuánchuò pretended he had no money to spare. The backdrop of this story is based on actual events.  The government did stop paying their workers, which escalated into a mass demonstration demanding back pay.  On June 3rd, 1921 at Xīnhuámén (新华门), at the gate outside the government offices at Zhōngnánhǎi (中南海), 10,000 teachers and students took to the streets of Běijīng to demand their back pay before classes could resume.  Several people were hurt, and the government eventually resumed pay for the teachers and government officials. Dragonboat Festival 端午节
    Would you like to read this Chinese short story with pinyin, footnotes with definitions, historical summaries, and cultural references, as well as Chinese audio files of two native speakers, one male and one female, reading the story? Get your copy of Capturing Chinese today! See the Capturing Chinese Catalog

    Sample the book before you buy! Get Your FREE Sample Chapter

    Don't take our word for it.  Take yours.  Download a FREE sample of "A Small Incident." [wp_eStore_free_download_ajax_fancy id=22]

    Enjoy and 加油!

    Almost Out! Capturing Chinese Stories: Prose and Poems by Revolutionary Chinese Authors

    The next book in the Capturing Chinese series is almost out!  We are reading over the final draft of the book before shipping it off for publication.  This book takes a departure from the previous books in our series in that we have used five different Chinese authors.  They are: Lu Xun, Zhu Ziqing, Hu Shi, Zhou Zuoren, and Lin Yutang. We have picked some of the most influential pieces of literature from these five authors and formed a collection of Chinese stories called "Capturing Chinese Stories: Prose and Poems by Revolutionary Chinese Authors". Each one of these authors has played an instrumental role in China and having a grasp of them and their work will lead insight into China's past and present.  Learning Chinese through literature is the backbone of the Capturing Chinese philosophy.  As always, each story includes a short summary, footnotes for difficult vocabulary, pinyin located at the end of each story, as well as an author introduction.  Audio files will also be included free of charge with each purchase of the book.  The audio files will include a male and female native speaker and will be available later this year. Capturing Chinese Stories: Prose and Poems by Revolutionary Chinese Authors has been requested by several Chinese professors to be used in their Chinese literature course.  Each new book in our series quickly becomes our favorite.  Some of the stories are absolute must reads for Chinese students.  The stories are famous throughout China and many make up the course syllabus of young Chinese students in Mainland China. Capturing Chinese Stories: Prose and Poems by Revolutionary Chinese Authors includes the following prose and poems: Zhu Ziqing Haste, Spring, The Silhouette of His Back, The Moonlit Lotus Pond, The White Man — God’s Proud Son, Thinking of Wei Woqing Lu Xun Excerpts from Wild Grass: Epigraph, Autumn Night, Hope, and The Evolution of the Male Sex Hu Shi Mr. Almost Man, My Mother, and In Memory of Zhimo Lin Yutang My Turn at Quitting Smoking Zhou Zuoren The Aging of Ghosts ISBN: 978-0-9842762-3-3 If you would like an email update when the book is available then make sure to join our mailing list by adding your email at the top right corner of this page. Cheers, Kevin and the Capturing Chinese team

    Video on Kong Yiji

    Kong Yiji is one of my favorite stories from Lu Xun's Nahan. Here is a video acting out the story of Kong Yiji. It's useful for practicing with your listening skills. Read the story, and then listen to the video without the text in front of you and repeat until you're understanding the whole video.

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    October 15, 2009 - - Author, Kevin Nadolny, has published Capturing Chinese: Short Stories From Lu Xun’s Nahan, an original approach to help students break into reading Chinese literature without the usual frustration of looking up obscure characters, misunderstanding historical events, and not knowing the background of the story. Starting with no background in Chinese, Kevin Nadolny has spent the past eight years mastering Mandarin Chinese studying both at US schools and in Beijing.  After going through many struggles during his own education, he has written a book designed to lessen the hardship on intermediate and advanced students breaking into reading Chinese literature. “I would spend hours looking up characters in the dictionary by radical.  A few pages in a novel would take me a day to read.  I just knew there had to be a better way to read Chinese literature, but no books were available to bridge the gap between textbook stories and original literature,” said Kevin Nadolny, author of Capturing Chinese: Short Stories From Lu Xun’s Nahan.  Kevin took this disappointment in Chinese textbooks and wrote his own book designed for students going through these same struggles. According to Columbia professor of Chinese, Liu Liping, “as reading material for the students who are learning Chinese and interested in Chinese literature and culture, your book [Capturing Chinese] is amazing and special!” Capturing Chinese utilizes the work of Lu Xun whose works continue to influence modern China and whose characters frequently appear in analogies for current events and in Chinese idioms.  While Lu Xun is the pioneer of writing in vernacular Chinese, his stories can still be quite difficult even for the Chinese.  In Capturing Chinese, footnotes highlight the more difficult vocabulary and pinyin is provided for the entire text. There is no need to constantly consult a dictionary or look up difficult characters by radical. Historical events, people and places are explained throughout and illustrations recreate the scenes. Capturing Chinese: Short Stories from Lu Xun’s Nahan is now available at www.capturingchinese.com and www.amazon.com. About the author The author has been studying Chinese for the past eight years.  Starting with no background in the language he has gone on to master the language.  Disappointed with the quality of intermediate and advanced Chinese books, he wrote this book focused on easing the intermediate/advanced student into reading some of China’s best literature.  He currently lives with his Chinese-speaking Japanese wife in Tokyo Japan. About Capturing Chinese Publications LLC Capturing Chinese Publications LLC is an academic press focused on bringing more quality Chinese textbooks to market.  They pride themselves on offering their customers quality books that will improve their Chinese and on offering their authors substantial royalties to show that their hard work is greatly valued.