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i Lin Yutang and his family went

to the Ilnited States by sea, and stopped at Los Angels Lin Yutang in New York, about rg37 @hotographer: Carl Van Vechten; Origin al. size: 2o.JCtrrxz5.4cm)


i Lin Yutang pinning a gold brooch for his wife Liao Cuifeng as a ioth-anniversary i wedding gift at their Yangrningshan residenc e, 1969 i (Oltgllal size: rocmxr4,zcm)


: IfREWORD iri

:\TRODUCTION I REFACE

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: ROLOGUE

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'Jhapter One THE CHINESE PEOPLE

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I. NORTH AND SOUTH i iti$äri II. DEGENtrRÄTION i{:rt;jii:i III. INFUSION OF NE\M BLOOD ,iri:i{i*i IV. CULTURAL STABILITY : t*.i,li V. RACIAL YOUTH .i:l,liit i

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Chapter Two THE CHINESE CHARACTER

I. MELLO\MNESS II. PATIENCE i{:iiir'* III. INDIFFERENCE ir',Ir,i;i; IV. OLD ROGUERY V. PACIF ISM i .#{:i"ri VI. CONTENTMENT i',.iltl:i+ VII. HUMOR iq**i:*: \-III. CONSERVATISM i{i}ir,i:i i ii$+riän; i

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Chapter Three THE CHINESE MIND

I. INTELLIGENCE , ii.ii*r.lr II. FEMININITY itli,i::ril III. LACK OF SCIENCE i{,}fä'\i IV. LOGIC isi:tu;"R V. INTUITION i *i,ii+ VI. IMAGINATION i#'i,iii{i i

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PROLOGUE

l',iglrtl'HE ARTISTIC LIFE

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Chapter Five WOMAN'S LIFE

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I. THE SUBJECTION OF WOMEN :'.tu:t,i,l II. HOME AND MARRIAGE i III. IDEAL OF WOMANHOOD i täi'+ IV. EDUCATION OF OUR DAUGHTtrRS i 't'-s;r V. LOVE AND COURTSHIP i "{tiiäl VI. THE COURTESAN AND CONCUBINAGE VII. FOOTBINDING i"iiri+l VIII. EMANCIPATION i t'i'rili i

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I lrnptt.r Nint. 'fHE ART OF LIVING i;:i;lti.ir | 'l 'l I l,l l'l,FlASURtrS OF LIF E i i;r;iiiil( i ll I l( )t ISI'I AlüD GARDEN i:::il+i:i. lll l',l\'l'lN() AND DRINKING i":i+it 'l'l I 1,. l,lNl) OF LIFE i ;r1:rä* I \,'

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SI'I,,I,I,INGAND PRONUNCIATION OF ( 'l I I N l';Slt NAMES i r*i:liä tl ,\ I Dl' ( ; l LliS TO PINIaIN CONVERTION TABLE 11 t tll lrS I N I|NGLISH BY LIN YUTANG i:rii*ii:i I I II.'

Six SOCIAL AND POLITICAL LIFE I. ABSENCE OF THE SOCIAL MIND i t-r'#: II. THE FAMILY SYSTEM ; tslä III. NEPOTISM, CORRUPTION AND MANNERS W. PRIVILEGE AND EQUALITY i{B'$ V. SOCIAL CLASSES i 't{#;ä VI. THE MALE TRIAD i"ls$lr VII. THE FEMALE TRIAD ',ün*'#r i VIII. THE VILLAGE SYSTEM IX. 'GOVERNMENT BY GENTLEMEN" i:ä'Et*

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Chapter Seven LITERARY

I. II. III.

A DISTINCTION

LIFE

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LANGUAGE AND THOUGHT SCHOLARSHIP

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IV. THE COLLEGE i Iiliilifi V. PROSE ir*s$t VI. LITERÄTURE AND POLITICS iä*+"1 VII. LITERARY REVOLUTION iH'+-r$ VIII. pOETR}' i IX. DRAMA il;rs.ru+ l

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INTRODLJCTION

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of the most important movements in China today is the discove ry of opn country by young Chinese intellectuals. A generation ago the most

ppessive of their fathers

were beginning to feel a stirring discontent with

efo rrrrn country. They were conscious, indeed the consciousness was forced il fum, that China as she had been in the past was not able to meet the busarrdaggreSsivemodernityofthe.West.Idonotmeanthepolitica1

drnitt'so much as the march of economic, educational and military events. Mc Chinese fathers, fathers of the present generation in China, were the ilF

! rwolutionists. They forced out of existence the old dynastic rule, they

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d with incredible speed the system of education, with indefatigable zeal

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planned and set up a scheme of modern government. No ancient govern-

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under an emperor ever accomplished with more imperial speed such ndous changes in so great a country.

In üis atmosphere of chang€, the present intellectual youth of China has

[r'u up. Where the fathers imbibed the doctrines of Confucius and learned & &sics and revolted against them, these young people have been battered fo neny forces of the new times. They have been taught somethirg of sciürue something of Christianity, something of atheism, something of free love,

Eüing

of communism, something of Western philosophy, something of 'Ddtrn militarism, something, in fact, of everythirg. In the midst of the sturdy

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of the masses of their countrymen the young intellectuals have been

üfEh't the most extreme of every culnrre. Intellectually they have been forced

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strne great omissions that China has made physically.

hrüivety

Th.y have skipped,

speaking, from the period of the unimproved country road

to the


XW.t 7 O*r^7 aa/ to7 fr^/*

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mortification at what their country \Mas and desire to conceal it from . There was no truth to be found in them, so far as their own country

aeroplane era. The omission was too great.The mind could not compensate for

it. The spirit was lost in the confict.

They at once hated and admired the foreigners.

The first result, therefore, of the hiatus was undoubtedly to produce a class of young Chinese, both men and women, but chiefy men, who frankly did not know how to live in their own country or in the age in which their country still

'West had continued prosperous and t would have happened if the cannot be said. It is'enough that the'West did not so continue. The

with interest and sometimes with satisfaction the world depression, the breakdown of prosperity, and the failure of scientific prevent these disasters. They have begun to say to themselves that after have viewed

was. They were for the most part educated abroad, where they forgot the reali-

ties of their own race.

It was

easy enough for various revolutionary leaders to

persuade these alienated minds that China's so-called backwardness was due

is not so bad. Evidently there is hunger everywhere, there are bandits

primarily to political and rnaterial interference by foreign powers. The world was made the scapegoat for China's medievalism. Instead of rcalizing that China was in her own way making her own steps, slowly,

it

, md one people is not better than another, and if this is so, then China was right in olden times, and perhaps it is just as well to go back

is true, and somewhat

ponderously, toward modernity, it was easy hue and cry to say that if

it

what the old Chinese philosophy was. At least it taught people to live wntentment and with enjoyment of small things if they had not the great

had not

been for foreigners she would have been akeady on an equality, in material terms,

fnd it regulated life and provided a certain amount of security and safety. tlccnt interest in China on the part of the X7est, the wistfulness of certain persons who enry the simplicity and security of China's pattern of 端td admire her arts and philosophy have also helped to inspire the young

with other nations.

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The result of this was a fresh revolution of a sort. China practically rid herself of her two great grievances outside of Japan, extraterritoriality and the tafiff. No great visible change appeared as a consequence.

*'oLoo ' XV

It became

apparent

re with confidence in themselves.

that what had been weaknesses were still weaknesses, and that these were inherent in the ideolory of the people. It was found, for instance, that when

result today is simply

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reiteration of the old Biblical adage that the

a revolutionary leader became secure and entrenched he became conservative

have eaten sour grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge. Young

and as corrupt, too often, as an old style official. The same has been true in

being wearied of the revolutionary ardors of its fathers, is going back to

It is almost

other histories. There were too many honest and intelligent young minds in China not to observe and accept the truth, that the outside world had very

,rcally Chinese, to eat Chinese food, to live in Chinese ways, to dress in clothes. It is as much of a fad and a pose to be entirely Chinese these

little to do with China's condition, and what she had to do with it could have been prevented if Chin ahadbeen earlier less sluggish and her leaders less blind

lmong certain young wester nized Chinese as it was for their fathers to forcign clothes and eat with knives and forks and want to go to Harvard.

and selfish.

Then followed a period of despair and ftenzy and increased idealistic worship of the S7est. The evident prosperity of foreign countries was felt to be a direct fruit of Sfestern scientific development. It was a time when the inferio nry complex was rampant in China, and the young patriots were divided

amusing to see the often self-conscious determination

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ptcsent young people have worn foreign clothes all their lives and eaten

food and they did go to Harvard, and they know English literature

tfly better than their own, to thcir grandfathers.

and now they are sick of

it all and want to

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ulr/no *r"Loo' XVII

XW.to7 O*r*7 az/ t 7 rtts* The trend is apparent everywhere, and not only in the externals of dress and customs. Far more import andy is it to be seen in art and literature. The

there is a rapidly spreading perception of the value of the common woman of their country. The expression is still crude and too much

subject of modern Chinese novels of a few years rgo, for instance, dealt chiefy

by foreign art, but the notion is there. One sometimes sees these p3tsant woman upon a canvas instead of a bird upon a bamboo twig, md

with modern love sinrations, with semi-foreign liaisons, with rebellions against home and parents, and the whole tone was somewhat sickly and certainly

totally unrooted in the country. There is still more than enough of this in both art and literature, but health is beginning to creep in, the health of life from plain people living plain and sturdy lives upon their earth. The young intellectuals are beginning to discover their own masses. They are beginning to find that life in the countryside, in small towns and villages is the real and native life of China, fortun ately still fairly untouched with the mixed modernism which has made their own lives unhealthy. They are beginning to feel themselves h"ppy that there is this great solid foundation in their nation, and to turn to

it

eagerly

for fresh inspiration. It is new to them, it is delightful,

it is humorous, it is worth having, md above all, it is purely Chinese. They have been helped to this new viewpoint, too. They would not, I think, have achieved it so well alone, and it is the'West which has helped them. 'We of the 'West have helped them not only negatively, by exhibiting a certain sort of breakdown in our own tivilization, but we have helped them positively, by our own trend toward elemental life. The'Western interest in all proletarian movements has set young China to thinking about her o\Mn proletariat, and to

discoveritg the extraordinary quality of her country people, maintaining their

figure

of

aman pushing a wheelbarrow instead of goldfish fashing

POOI.

-lf we of the S(est were to wait for the interpretation of China until y released ones could find adequate and articulate voice, it would

f

long-longer, perhaps, than our generation. Happily there are a few few spirits large enough not to be lost in the confusion of the times, enough to see life as it is, with the fine old humor of generations of n and learning, keen enough to understand their o\Mn civlhzation

t9 others, and wise enough to choose what is native to them and truly their own. For a long time I have hoped that one of these few write for us all a book about his own China, a real.book, permeated with ial spirit of the people. Time after time

I

have opened a book, eagetly

in disappointment, Wlth hope, and time aftet time I have closed it again it was untrue, because it was bombastic, because it was too fervent in of that which was roo great to need defense. It ; and therefore it was unworthy of China.

was

written to impress

none of these things.

$ book about China, worthy to be about China, can be t be frank and unashamed, because the real Chinese have always been

such tranquillity should gready appeal to intellectuals in their own confusion

people, proud enough to be frank and unashamed of themselves and Wtys. It must be wise and penetrative in its understanding, fot the Chinese

and sense of being lost in the twisted times.

been above all peoples wise and penetrative

life pure and incredibly undisturbed by the world's confusion.

It is natural that

Communism, too, has helped them. Communism has brought about class consciousness,

it

has made the common man articulate and demanding, and

since modern education in China has been available to the children of common

people, they have already been given a sort of voice, at least, wherewith to speak for themselves, however inadequately. In the art and literature of the young Leftists

,human

in their understanding of heart. It must be humorous, because humor is an essential part of

rc nanrre, deep, mellow, kindly humor, founded upon the tragic knowledg. rlĂ&#x;Gâ‚Źptance of life. It must be expressed in fowing, exact, beautiful words,

te the Chinese have always valued the beauty of the exact and the te, None but a chinese couldwrite such a book, and I had begun to think


XVru

that

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yet even no Chinese could write it, because it seemed impossible to find

a

PREFACE

modern English-writing Chinese who was not so detached from his own people as to be alien to them, and yet detached enough

the meaning of their

age

to comprehend their meaning,

and the meaning of their youth.

But suddenly, as all great books appear, this book appears, fulfilling every demand made upon it. It is truthful and not ashamed of the truth: it is

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written proudly and humorously and with beauty, seriously and with gaiety, appreciative and understanding of both old and new. It is, I think, the truest, the most profound, the most complete, the most important book yet written about China. And, best of all, it is written by

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Chinese, L modern, whose roots

I have tried only to communicate my opinions, which I

have

after some long and painful thought and reading and introspection. t tried to enter into arguments or prove my different theses, but I justified or condemned by this book, as Confucius once said of his

are firmly in the past, but whose rich fowering is in the present.

nd Auturnn Annals. China is too big a country, md her nationd life has facets, for her not to be open to the most diverse and contradiclcrpretations. And I shall always be able to assist with very convenient anyone who wishes to hold opposite theses. But truth is truth and clever human opinions. It is given to man only at farc moments

Pnenr S. Bucr

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the truth, and it is these moments of perception that \Mill survive, individual opinions. Therefore, the most formidable marshalling of can often lead one to conclusions which are mere learned nonsense.

the presentation of such perceptions, one needs a simpler, which is rcaLly a Style. For truth can never be proved; it can only be hinted at.

It

lg also inevitable that

I should offend many writers about China, espe-

my own countrymen and great patriots. These great

patriots-I

have

to do with them, for their god is not my god, and their patriotism is my patriotism. Perhaps I too love my own country, but I take care to conĂ&#x; tt before them, for one may wear the cloak of patriotism to tatters, and in tetters be paraded through the city streets to death, in China or the rest dlG world.

of my i,., I Un able to confess because, unlike these patriots, I am not ashamed And I can lay bare her troubles because I have not lost hope' China

than her little patriots, and does not require their whitewashing. She


ffi..27

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as she ahvaln did right herself again. ' Nor do I wriie for the patriots of the'West. For I fear more their appre-

will,

ciatiVe quotations from me than the misunderstandings of my corurtrymen'

Vtite only for the men of simple common

sense, that simple common sense

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for

which ancient China was so distinguished, but which is so rare today. My book can only be understood from this simpte point of view. To these people who have not lost their sense of ultimate human values, tO them alone I'Speak' For

theyaloncwillunderstandme

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My thanks are due to Pearl s. Buck who, from the.beginning to the snd, gave me kind encouragement and'who penona[ysa4d durpa1gh the e'rtire man-

useript ttefore itwas sent to't&c press and ediued it, torMr' RiehardJ''w'alsh who offered valuable criticism,while the book was in progress; rnd.,to Miss Till,baBeffEr, who styled the marruscript and read the prooĂ&#x;, Ackrxiwle-d-gments are also due to Mrs. Selskar M,, Gunn, Bernardine Szold,Frita'and.Baronsss UOgern-Sternbefg, tĂ„rho, sometime$ singly atd Sornetitnesin chorus, nagged me

into writing this book. Lastly,

I

am indebted

to my"wife who patiently went

through with me the less pleasant asPects of authorship, which only an author's

wife could appreciate.

Tun Aurnon June, rg3, Shanghai


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