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    Capturing Chinese — Hu Shi

    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

    Learn Chinese Through Stories: Hu Shi's Mr. Almost Good Enough

    Capturing Chinese have brought you notable authors in the past months. This week, our featured author is Hu Shih (胡适-Hú Shì), a Chinese Nationalist scholar, philosopher, diplomat and essayist born December 17, 1891 (Shanghai, China) and who died February 24, 1962 (Taiwan). Hu is well-respected for his great help on the institutionalization of vernacular Chinese as the formal written language of China. Today, he still remains as an inspiration and influence to modern China, due to his exemplary contributions to Chinese liberalism and language reform. Hu was a recipient of the Boxer Indemnity Scholarship Program, which provided for Chinese students to study in the US.  In 1910, he enrolled at Cornell University’s agriculture program. His passion for language motivated him to shift from agriculture to literature and philosophy in 1912.  After his undergraduate degree he went on to study under the tutelage of John Dewey at Columbia University. Hu was deeply influenced by Dewey’s perspectives towards pragmatic evolutionary change. He brought his professor’s idealisms back to China. He facilitated a series of lectures in Peking University where he served tenure. Chinese intellectuals admired Hu’s strong conviction, and he quickly rose to prominence. He became a leader among Chinese intellectuals and supported the May Fourth Movement. With the aid of his devout supporters, he wrote several political journals and newspapers. He also lead the advocacy towards language reform. He proposed that classical Chinese should be replaced by vernacular Chinese as the formal writing medium which would thus simplify the writing process and allow average Chinese people to enjoy literature, newspapers, etc. Hu succeeded on this endeavor and was one of his most important contributions to modern China. In 1938, Hu served as the ambassador of China to the United States until 1942.  In 1946, he went back to China and became chancellor of Peking University.  However, on the eve on the the communist revolution in 1949 he moved to New York where he lived in semiretirement.  In 1956 he went to Taiwan to became president of the Academia Sinica in Taipei. He continued to write through the Free China Journal where he was chief executive.  While being a vigorous critic of the govenerment on the mainland, the Kuomingtang (the government in Taiwan) gave him no mercy.  The journal was eventually shut down by the government due to its solid criticisms against Chang Kai-Shek. On the mainland, Hu Shih was villified as an American trained, liberal intellectual.  He was even denounced by his own son.  The pragmatic evolutionary change that Hu Shi had preached had been replaced by revolutionary change instead.  His works were in disrepute on the Mainland until an article written in 1986 advocated remembering Hu Shi’s great contributions to modern Chinese literature. At the age of 70, he perished due to a heart attack. He is buried in a tomb inside the campus of Academia Sinica. Hu Shi strongly opposed mediocrity and criticized government officials on their incompetence. Disappointed about the ‘close-to-good-enough’ performance of the nation’s servants, he wrote the essay called “Chabuduo” (差不多) which means, depending on the context, “good-enough,” “close-enough,” or “just about.” In Chinese, it is literally defined as “difference not much.” In the essay, Hu presented laziness in human form whom he calls Mr. Chabuduo. “Mr. Chabuduo’s appearance resembles yours and mine. He has two eyes - but does not see things very clearly.  He has two ears - but they don't listen very well.  He has a nose and a mouth, but does not distinguish much between different smells and tastes.  His head isn't particularly small -  however - his memory isn't very good.” He described how China is responding to the likes of Mr. Chabuduo, in terms of education, work, and discipline. Without any inhibitions, he gave a  grave warning that a societal cancer of laziness is spreading and must be suppressed. With each passing day, Mr. Chabuduo’s reputation continues to spread far and wide.  Countless people study his example with the result that everyone is now becoming a “Mr. Chabuduo” and is the reason why China is quickly being transformed into a country that the rest of the world will soon call “the Nation of Laziness.” Here is the story. Learn Chinese Through Stories: Hu Shi's Mr. Almost Good Enough     Helpful links: http://www.jstor.org/pss/651783 http://www.answers.com/topic/hu-shih http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hu_Shih http://www.readchinese.net/chabuduoxiansheng