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"A Madman's Diary" (Traditional Chinese: 狂人日記; Simplified Chinese: 狂人日记; Pinyin: Kuángrén Rìjì) was written by Lu Xun, commonly considered one of the greatest writers in 20th-century Chinese literature. This short story is considered to be one of the first and most influential modern works written in vernacular Chinese. "A Madman's Diary" is an attempt by Lu Xun to describe the effects of feudal values upon the Chinese people. He uses an analogy of cannibalism to describe the way such outdated values eat away at the individual. The story would become a cornerstone of the New Culture Movement.

It is the first story in the book Call to Arms, a collection of short stories by Lu Xun. Its title is influenced by Nikolai Gogol's short story Diary of a Madman.

Synopsis

The story is the transcript of the diary entries of a madman who, according to the preface, delivered in Classical Chinese, has now been cured of his delusive paranoia. After extensively studying Chinese history as outlined in the four books and five classics of his culture, he began to see the words "Eat People!" written between the lines of the texts. Seeing the people in his village as potential man-eaters, he is gripped by the fear that everyone, including his brother, his venerable doctor and his neighbors are preparing to eat him. It is anti-traditional in the sense that the other characters are portrayed as heartless, bound to tradition, and cannibalistic. The insanity of the narrator is never proven, however, leading the reader to question the seemingly wholesome intentions of those who care for him. Despite the brother's apparent genuine concern, the narrator still regards him as big a threat as any stranger, showing just how distrustful he has become.

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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

A Madman's Diary
by Lu Xun, translated by Wikisource
"A Madman's Diary" (Traditional Chinese: 狂人日記; Simplified Chinese: 狂人日记; Pinyin: Kuángrén Rìjì) was written by Lu Xun, commonly considered one of the greatest writers in 20th-century Chinese literature. This short story is considered to be one of the first and most influential modern works written in vernacular Chinese. "A Madman's Diary" is an attempt by Lu Xun to describe the effects of feudal values upon the Chinese people. He uses an analogy of cannibalism to describe the way such outdated values eat away at the individual. The story would become a cornerstone of the New Culture Movement.
Excerpted from A Madman's Diary on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

     A certain pair of brothers, whose names I shall conceal for now, were both good friends of mine back during our school days. I have been away for many years, and gradually lost touch with them. A few days ago, I suddenly learned that one of them had come down with a serious illness. I was on my way back to my hometown at the time, so I diverted my route so that I could visit them. However, I only saw one of them, who explained that the sick person was his younger brother. He expressed sympathy for my having come such a long way in order to see his brother, but then informed me that his brother had long since recovered, and had moved away in order to fill a temporary post. He thereupon proceeded to laugh aloud, and produced his brother's two-volume diary. He said that one could ascertain the nature of his brother's illness by reading it, and that there was no harm in showing it to an old friend. Upon taking it home and reading it through, I could tell that his brother had been stricken with something like a "persecution complex". His words were slightly disjointed and incoherent, and there were also a lot of preposterous statements. Furthermore, he did not include any dates. It was only by the differences in ink color and penmanship that one would know that it was not all written at the same time. Nevertheless, parts of the diary did have some amount of consistency. I have excerpted those parts here, so that medical experts may use it for research. I have not altered any of the errors in the text. However, I have altered all of the personal names. Although they are all from the same village as him, none of them are known to the outside world, and none of them are relevant to the overall subject matter. As for the title, he chose it himself, after recovering from his illness. I have not changed it. April 2, 7th year of the Republic (1918)

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Licensing

This translation is hosted with different licensing information than from the original text. The translation status applies to this edition.
Original:
PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1936, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

Translation:
Heckert GNU white.svg This work is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
This work is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license, which allows free use, distribution, and creation of derivatives, so long as the license is unchanged and clearly noted, and the original author is attributed.







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