Shi Zhecun

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Shi.

Shi Zhecun (simplified Chinese: 施蛰存; traditional Chinese: 施蟄存; pinyin: Shī Zhécún) (December 3, 1905 – November 19, 2003) was a Chinese author and journal editor in Shanghai during the 1930s. He also wrote poetry and essays, but is most known for his modernist short stories exploring the psychological conditions of Shanghai urbanites. From the 1940s onwards, he translated western novels into Chinese and worked as a scholar of classical Chinese literature.

Shi Zhecun was active on the Shanghai literary scene. He edited the journal Les Contemporains (Xiàndài 現代) from 1932 to 1934. The journal introduced Chinese readers to trends in modern literature and art. It covered foreign and Chinese topics and promoted the works of Shi Zhecun's friends, such as Mu Shiying and Dai Wangshu.

Shi's short stories were written between 1928 and 1937. They cover a range of topics, from absurdist ghost stories to gentler pieces on the strains faced by modern couples in Shanghai. His most famous short story is probably "An Evening of Spring Rain" (Meiyu zhi xi 梅雨之夕). His works set in Shanghai frequently deal with the inner lives of the protagonists as they are beset by irrational fears and desires.

After the Japanese invasion of Shanghai, Shi Zhecun moved inland in 1937. He held university posts and translated novels by Arthur Schnitzler among others. He became a scholar on classical culture and did research on Tang Dynasty poetry and stele inscriptions. His creative works were long considered politically suspect by the Chinese government, but there has been mounting interest since the 1980s. His works have been republished in recent years.


Lee, Leo Ou-fan. Shanghai Modern: The Flowering of a New Urban Culture in China, 1930-1945. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999.