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Wang Baoxiang (Chinese: 王葆祥; 1909–1977), courtesy name Xiaoyu (Chinese: 霄羽), better known by his pen name Wang Dulu (simplified Chinese: 王度庐; traditional Chinese: 王度廬), was a Chinese writer of wuxia novels. Wang is best known for his work, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, that was adapted into a successful feature film of the same title by film director Ang Lee in 2000.
Wang was born in 1909 in Beijing, to a poor family of Manchu background. He worked as an editor for a newspaper agency and as a clerk for a merchant association before becoming a writer. He lived through the New Culture Movement and the May Fourth Movement and began writing novels in the 1930s. Most of Wang's early works were of the detective and mystery fiction genres.
He started writing wuxia novels after moving to Qingdao. Between 1938 and 1949, Wang wrote 16 wuxia novels. In 1949, Wang stopped writing and became a school teacher after the Chinese Civil War ended. He was sent to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution and died from illness in 1977 after the revolution. At the time of his death, Wang had written more than 50 novels. Wang was married to Li Danquan and they had three children.
Wang is best known for his wuxia-romance novels, which usually have tragic endings, as well as his social-romance novels. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of the modern genre of wuxia, along with other established wuxia writers such as Jin Yong and Liang Yusheng. Within the genre, Wang had secured his place as one of the "Ten Great Writers" and one of the "Four Great Writers of the Northern School", along with Li Shoumin, Gong Baiyu and Zheng Zhengyin.
Zhang Gansheng, a scholar of modern and contemporary Chinese literature, has characterized Wang as perfecting the wuxia genre, and paving the way for a generation of great writers. However, according to Xu Sinian, another scholar, there has not been any detailed critique of Wang's works, apart from that of the Taiwanese scholar Ye Hongsheng.
The Crane-Iron Series
Wang is remembered for his five-part epic wuxia-romance series, often called collectively the Crane-Iron Series (鶴鐵系列), named after the first characters in the titles of the first and last installments in the series. The stories chronicle the struggles of four generations of youxia. These are the titles under which they are now published, in order of their internal chronology (that is, not in the order they were originally composed or published):
- Crane Frightens Kunlun (鶴驚崑崙)
- Precious Sword, Golden Hairpin (寶劍金釵)
- Sword Force, Pearl Shine (劍氣珠光)
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (臥虎藏龍)
- Iron Knight, Silver Vase (鐵騎銀瓶)
The first book of the series, Crane Startles Kunlun, was written third, after Sword Force, Pearl Shine, and serialized under the title Dancing Crane, Singing Luan (舞鶴鳴鸞記).
Ang Lee's 2000 film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, includes episodes and information from some of the other books in the series, apart from the novel which shares the same title as the film. The official website of actress Michelle Yeoh, who starred in the film, has an English-language summary of the five books.
In January 2013, it was reported that The Weinstein Company would produce a movie adaptation of Iron Knight, Silver Vase, with director Ronny Yu. Renamed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, the project began principal photography in New Zealand in August 2014, with Yuen Woo-ping as director.
As of 2013, no official English language translations of his novels exist. The two first volumes were translated into French in four volumes by "Calmann-Lévy" editions. However, there is a manhua series of the same title (now in its second, revised edition), created by Andy Seto. They depart substantially from the written text.
As of 2013, there is currently an unofficial English translation in progress of the first novel, Crane Frightens Kunlun (鶴驚崑崙).
- "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Novels & Prequel". Michelleyeoh.info. Retrieved 2012-11-26.
- Pulver, Andrew (25 January 2013). "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel on its way – without Ang Lee". The Guardian. London.
- Andy (2007-07-09). "中翻英圖書館 Translations: The Crane Startles Kunlun, Chapter 1". Tu-shu-guan.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-11-26.