Zhao published since the early 1940s. She gained a PhD (for a dissertation on Henry James) from the University of Chicago in 1948 and returned to teach English and North American literature at Yenching University, Beijing. She was married to Chen Mengjia, an archaeologist and expert on oracle bones. Chen committed suicide after denunciation and persecution during the Cultural Revolution. Zhao herself was also considered an enemy of the state by Chinese officials.
She translated T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land (1937), Longfellow's The Song of Hiawatha and eventually saw a mass publication of her translation of the whole of Whitman's Leaves of Grass (1991). She was a co-editor of the first Chinese-language History of European Literature (1979).
- Price, Kenneth M. An Interview with Zhao Luorui.' Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 13 (1995): 59-63. Publ. 1996.
- Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature
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