Hangzhou Former Residence of Yu Dafu

2016-10-19
Yu Dafu is a popular short-story writer of the 1920s in China, and one of the founding members of the Creation Society, which was devoted to the promotion of modern literature. Yu received his higher education in Japan, where he met other young Chinese writers with whom he founded the Creation Society in 1921. His first collection of short stories, Chenlun (1921; “Sinking”), was written in vernacular Chinese, as advocated by the new generation of writers. Chenlun became a popular success in China because of its frank treatment of sex.

 
Yu continued his work with the Creation Society and edited or contributed to literary journals. He also continued to write short stories, but in 1923, after contracting tuberculosis, he abruptly changed his major theme from one of self-preoccupation to one of concern with the state of the masses. In 1927, following a disagreement with the communist members of the Creation Society, Yu attempted to reorganize the group but was forced to resign.

 
Yu’s first novel appeared in 1928 and was only moderately successful; his second followed four years later. In 1935 his last and major work of fiction, Chuben (“Flight”), was published. During the Sino-Japanese War (1937–45), Yu wrote anti-Japanese propaganda from Wuhan and Singapore. When Singapore fell to the Japanese in 1942, he fled to Sumatra, only to be executed by Japanese military police there shortly after the end of the war. Of Yu’s many works the most popular was Rijijiuzhong (1927; “Nine Diaries”), an account of his affair with the young left-wing writer Wang Yingxia. The book broke all previous sales records in China. The critics’ favorite is arguably Guoqu (1927; “The Past”), praised for its psychological depth. Yu also wrote numerous essays and classical poetry.

 
The former residence of Yu Dafu is situated in Fuyang, Zhejiang province. It is a Chinese traditional house made of bricks and wood, with three rooms at the front and comprising of two stories. This is the birthplace of Yu Dafu as well as the place where he spent his childhood. The residence was opened to the public in Dec. 1996, the 100th anniversary of Yu Dafu. Nowadays, it is also the Patriotism Education Base of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. The former residence of Yu Dafu occupies an area of 300 square meters, with black tiles and white walls, which is typical of the architectural style from the south of Yangtze River. In the former residence, there are relics of Yu Dafu, as well as literary works, and calligraphies completed when he was in contact  with famous litterateurs such as Lu Xun and Guo Moruo.