The Full Wiki

Lin Yutang: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a Chinese name; the family name is Lin (林).
Lin Yutang
Linyutang.jpg
Lin Yutang, photographed by
Carl Van Vechten, 1939
Traditional Chinese 林語堂
Simplified Chinese 林语堂

Lin Yutang (October 10, 1895 – March 26, 1976) was a Chinese writer and inventor. His informal but polished style in both Chinese and English made him one of the most influential writers of his generation, and his compilations and translations of classic Chinese texts into English were bestsellers in the West.

Contents

Youth

Lin was born in the town of Banzai, Pinghe, Zhangzhou, Fujian. This mountainous region made a deep impression on his consciousness, and thereafter he would constantly consider himself a child of the mountains (in one of his books he commented that his idea of hell was a city apartment). His father was a Christian minister. His journey of faith from Christianity to Taoism and Buddhism, and back to Christianity in his later life was recorded in his book From Pagan to Christian (1959).

Academics

Lin studied for his bachelor's degree at Saint John's University in Shanghai, then received a half-scholarship to continue study for a doctoral degree at Harvard University. He later wrote that in the Widener Library he first found himself and first came alive, but he never saw a Harvard-Yale game. [1] He left Harvard early however, moving to France and eventually to Germany, where he completed his requirements for a doctoral degree (in Chinese) at the University of Leipzig. From 1923 to 1926 he taught English literature at Peking University. On his return to the United States in 1931, he was briefly detained for inspection at Ellis Island.

Passions

Ming Kwai Typewriter

Dr. Lin was very active in the popularization of classical Chinese literature in the West, as well as the general Chinese attitude towards life. He worked to formulate Gwoyeu Romatzyh a new method of romanizing the Chinese language, and created an indexing system for Chinese characters.

He was interested in mechanics. Since Chinese is a character-based rather than an alphabet-based language, with many thousands of separate characters, it has always been difficult to employ modern printing technologies. For many years it was doubted that a Chinese typewriter could be invented. Lin, however, worked on this problem for decades and eventually came up with a workable typewriter—brought to market in the middle of the war with Japan.

He also invented and patented several lesser inventions such as a toothbrush with toothpaste dispensing.

Legacy

After 1928 he lived mainly in the United States, where his translations of Chinese texts remained popular for many years. At the behest of Pearl Buck, he wrote My Country and My People (吾國與吾民,吾国与吾民) (1935) and The Importance of Living (生活的藝術,生活的艺术) (1937), written in English in a charming and witty style, which became bestsellers. Others include Between Tears and Laughter (啼笑皆非) (1943), The Importance of Understanding (1960, a book of translated Chinese literary passages and short pieces), The Chinese Theory of Art (1967), and the novels Moment in Peking (京華煙雲,京华烟云) (1939) and The Vermillion Gate (朱門,朱门) (1953).

His many works represent an attempt to bridge the cultural gap between the East and the West. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature several times in the 1970s.[1]

He was nominated and served briefly as president (or chancellor) of the Nanyang University created in Singapore specifically for Chinese studies complementary to the English-oriented University of Singapore. He did not, however, choose to continue in that role when Nanyang (South Seas) University became a focus of the struggle for control of Singapore between the Communist-directed left and the liberal, social democratic right. He felt he was too old for the conflict.

With his unique facility for both Chinese and English idiom, Lin presided over the compilation of an outstanding Chinese-English dictionary, Lin Yutang's Chinese-English Dictionary of Modern Usage (林語堂當代漢英詞典,林语堂当代汉英词典) (1972), which contains a massive English index to definitions of Chinese terms. The work was undertaken in Hong Hong, where Lin served for a time at the newly founded Chinese University.

Dr. Lin was buried at his home in Yangmingshan, Taipei, Taiwan. His home has been turned into a museum, which is operated by Taipei-based Soochow University. The town of Lin's birth, Banzai, has also preserved the original Lin home and turned it into a museum.

Family

His wife, Lin TsuiFeng was a cookbook author whose authentic recipes did a great deal to popularize the art of Chinese cookery in America. Dr. Lin wrote the introduction to one collection of recipes compiled by his wife and their third daughter, Lin HsiangJu (林相如).

His first daughter Adet Lin (1923-1971) was an author who also used the pseudonym Tan Yun.

His second daughter Lin TaiYi (林太乙) (1926-2003) was also known as Anor Lin in her earliest writing. She was an author and the general editor of Chinese Reader's Digest from 1965 until her retirement in 1988. [2]

His third daughter Lin HsiangJu (林相如) (1931-), was referred to as MeiMei in childhood. She was co-author of cookbooks with her mother, and was a biochemist at Queen Mary hospital in Hong Kong.[2]

Works in English by Lin Yutang

  • (1935) My Country and My People, Reynal & Hitchcock, Inc., (A John Day Book)
  • (1936) A History of the Press and Public Opinion in China, Kelly and Walsh
  • (1937) The Importance of Living, Reynal & Hitchcock, Inc., (A John Day Book)
  • (1938) The Wisdom of Confucius, Random House, The Modern Library
  • (1939) Moment in Peking, A John Day Book Company
  • (1940) With Love & Irony, A John Day Book Company
  • (1940) Leaf in the Storm, A John Day Book Company
  • (1942) The Wisdom of China and India, Random House
  • (1943) Between Tears & Laughter, A John Day Book Company
  • (1944) The Vigil of a Nation, A John Day Book Company
  • (1947) The Gay Genius: The Life and Times of Su Tungpo, A John Day Book Company
  • (1948) Chinatown Family, A John Day Book Company
  • (1948) The Wisdom of Laotse, Random House
  • (1950) On the Wisdom of America, A John Day Book Company
  • (1951) Widow, Nun and Courtesan: Three Novelettes From the Chinese Translated and Adapted by Lin Yutang, A John Day Book Company
  • (1952) Famous Chinese Short Stories, Retold by Lin Yutang, A John Day Book Company
  • (1953) The Vermilion Gate, A John Day Book Company
  • (1955) Looking Beyond, Prentice Hall (Published in England as The Unexpected island, Heinemann)
  • (1957) Lady Wu, World Publishing Company
  • (1958) The Secret Name, Farrar, Straus and Cudahy
  • (1959) The Chinese Way of Life, World Publishing Company
  • (1959) From Pagan to Christian, World Publishing Company
  • (1960) Imperial Peking: Seven Centuries of China, Crown Publishers
  • (1960) The Importance of Understanding, World Publishing Company
  • (1961) The Red Peony, World Publishing Company
  • (1962) The Pleasure of a Nonconformist, World Publishing Company
  • (1963) Juniper Loa, World Publishing Company
  • (1964) The Flight of Innocents, G. P. Putnam's Sons
  • (1973) Chinese-English Dictionary of Modern Usage, Hong Kong Chinese University

Works in English by Lin TsuiFeng & Lin HsiangJu (wife & third daughter)

  • (1956) Cooking with the Chinese Flavor, Prentice Hall
  • (1960) Secrets of Chinese Cooking, Prentice Hall
  • (1972) Chinese Gastronomy, Pyramid Publications; 1977 reprint: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (introduction by Dr. Lin Yutang)
  • (1996) The Art of Chinese Cuisine, Tuttle (a retitled edition of 1972 Chinese Gastronomy)

Works in English by Adet Lin (first daughter)

  • (1939) Our Family with Anor Lin (New York: John Day).
  • (1941) Dawn over Chungking with Anor and MeiMei (HsiangJu) Lin (New York: John Day).
  • (1943) "Flame from the Rock" (New York: John Day).
  • (1961) "The Milky Way and Other Chinese Folk Tales" (New York: Harcourt Brace).

Works in English by Lin TaiYi (Anor Lin) (second daughter)

  • (1939) Our Family with Adet Lin. (New York: John Day).
  • (1941) Dawn over Chungking with Adet and MeiMei (HsiangJu) Lin. (New York: John Day, rpr. Da Capo, 1975 ).
  • (1943) War Tide (New York: John Day).
  • (1946) The Golden Coin (New York: John Day).
  • (1959) The Eavesdropper (Cleveland: World).
  • (1960) The Lilacs Overgrow (Cleveland: World).
  • (1964) Kampoon Street (Cleveland,: World).

Li Ju-chen (Lin TaiYi tr.) , Flowers in the Mirror (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1965).

Notes, References & External links

Advertisements

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

It is not so much what you believe in that matters, as the way in which you believe it and proceed to translate that belief into action.

Lin Yutang (Traditional Chinese: 林語堂; Simplified Chinese: 林语堂; pinyin: Lín Yǔtáng, 10 October 189526 March 1976) was a Chinese writer and translator.

Contents

Sourced

  • Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.
    • As quoted in Pearls of Wisdom : A Harvest of Quotations From All Ages (1987) by Jerome Agel and Walter D. Glanze, p. 46
  • When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set.
    • As quoted in Hard-to-Solve Cryptograms (2001) by Derrick Niederman, p. 96
  • When there are too many policemen, there can be no liberty. When there are too many soldiers, there can be no peace. When there are too many lawyers, there can be no justice.
    • As quoted in Alexander, James (2005). The World's Funniest Laws. Cheam: Crombie Jardine. pp. page 6. ISBN 1905102100. Retrieved on 2008-10-10.  
When there are too many policemen, there can be no liberty. When there are too many soldiers, there can be no peace. When there are too many lawyers, there can be no justice.

My Country and My People (1936)

  • I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its leaves are a little yellow, its tone mellower, its colours richer, and it is tinged a little with sorrow and a premonition of death. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor of the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and is content. From a knowledge of those limitations and its richness of experience emerges a symphony of colours, richer than all, its green speaking of life and strength, its orange speaking of golden content and its purple of resignation and death.
    • p.328 Epilogue

The Importance of Living (1937)

It is not when he is working in his office but when he is lying idly on the sand that his soul utters, "Life is beautiful."
The scamp will be the last and most formidable enemy of dictatorships. He will be the champion of human dignity and individual freedom, and will be the last to be conquered. All modern civilization depends entirely upon him.
  • This is a personal testimony, a testimony of my own experience of thought and life. It is not intended to be objective and makes no claim to establish eternal truths. In fact I rather despise claims to objectivity in philosophy; the point of view is the thing.
    • Preface
  • It is not when he is working in his office but when he is lying idly on the sand that his soul utters, "Life is beautiful."
    • Ch. I : The Awakening, p. 2
  • While in the West, the insane are so many that they are put in an asylum, in China the insane are so unusual that we worship them, as anybody who has a knowledge of Chinese literature will testify.
    • Ch. I : The Awakening, p. 3
  • A vague uncritical idealism always lends itself to ridicule and too much of it might be a danger to mankind, leading it round in a futile wild-goose chase for imaginary ideals.
    • Ch. I : The Awakening
  • I distrust all dead and mechanical formulas for expressing anything connected with human affairs and human personalities. Putting human affairs in exact formulas shows in itself a lack of the sense of humor and therefore a lack of wisdom.
    • Ch. I : The Awakening
  • It is not so much what you believe in that matters, as the way in which you believe it and proceed to translate that belief into action.
    • Ch. I : The Awakening
  • My faith in human dignity consists in the belief that man is the greatest scamp on earth. Human dignity must be associated with the idea of a scamp and not with that of an obedient, disciplined and regimented soldier.
    • Ch. I : The Awakening
  • I am doing my best to glorify the scamp or vagabond. I hope I shall succeed. For things are not so simple as they sometimes seem. In this present age of threats to democracy and individual liberty, probably only the scamp and the spirit of the scamp alone will save us from being lost in serially numbered units in the masses of disciplined, obedient, regimented and uniformed coolies. The scamp will be the last and most formidable enemy of dictatorships. He will be the champion of human dignity and individual freedom, and will be the last to be conquered. All modern civilization depends entirely upon him.
    • Ch. I : The Awakening
  • The world I believe is far too serious, and being far too serious, is it has need of a wise and merry philosophy.
    • Ch. I : The Awakening
  • To me personally the only function of philosophy is to teach us to take life more lightly and gayly than the average businessman does, for no businessman who does not retire at fifty, if he can, is in my eyes a philosopher.
    • Ch. I : The Awakening
  • A reasonable naturalist then settles down to this life with a sort of animal satisfaction. As Chinese illiterate women put it, "Others gave birth to us and we give birth to others. What else are we to do?".... Life becomes a biological procession and the very question of immortality is sidetracked. For that is the exact feeling of a Chinese grandfather holding his grandchild by the hand and going to the shops to buy some candy, with the thought that in five or ten years he will be returning to his grave or to his ancestors. The best that we can hope for in this life is that we shall not have sons and grandsons of whom we need to be ashamed.
    • p. 23
  • One can learn such a lot and enjoy such a lot in seventy years, and three generations is a long, long time to see human follies and acquire human wisdom. Anyone who is wise and has lived long enough to witness the changes of fashion and morals and politics through the rise and fall of three generations should be perfectly satisfied to rise from his seat and go away saying, "It was a good show," when the curtain falls.
    • p. 23-24
  • Instead of holding on to the Biblical view that we are made in the image of God, we come to realize that we are made in the image of the monkey
    • p. 36
  • How many of us are able to distinguish between the odors of noon and midnight, or of winter and summer, or of a windy spell and a still one? If man is so generally less happy in the cities than in the country, it is because all these variations and nuances of sight and smell and sound are less clearly marked and lost in the general monotony of gray walls and cement pavements.
    • p. 129
When the mirror meets with an ugly woman, when a rare ink-stone finds a vulgar owner, and when a good sword is in the hands of a common general, there is utterly nothing to be done about it.
  • The three great American vices seem to be efficiency, punctuality, and the desire for achievement and success. They are the things that make the Americans so unhappy and so nervous.
    • p. 162
  • A man who has to be punctually at a certain place at five o'clock has the whole afternoon from one to five ruined for him already.
    • p. 163
  • If the early Chinese people had any chivalry, it was manifested not toward women and children, but toward old people. That feeling of chivalry found clear expression in Mencius in some such saying as, 'The people with gray hair should not be seen carrying burdens on the street,' which was expressed as the final goal of good government.
    • p. 193
  • By association with nature's enormities, a man's heart may truly grow big also. There is a way of looking upon a landscape as a moving picture and being satisfied with nothing less big as a moving picture, a way of looking upon tropic clouds over the horizon as the backdrop of a stage and being satisfied with nothing less big as a backdrop, a way of looking upon the mountain forests as a private garden and being satisfied with nothing less as a private garden, a way of listening to the roaring waves as a concert and being satisfied with nothing less as a concert, and a way of looking upon the mountain breeze as an air-cooling system and being satisfied with nothing less as an air-cooling system. So do we become big, even as the earth and firmaments are big. Like the "Big Man" described by Yuan Tsi (A.D. 210-263), one of China's first romanticists, we "live in heaven and earth as our house."
    • p. 282-283)
  • When the mirror meets with an ugly woman, when a rare ink-stone finds a vulgar owner, and when a good sword is in the hands of a common general, there is utterly nothing to be done about it.
    • p. 317
  • Such religion as there can be in modern life, every individual will have to salvage from the churches for himself.
    • p. 397
  • I feel, like all modern Americans, no consciousness of sin and simply do not believe in it. All I know is that if God loves me only half as much as my mother does, he will not send me to Hell. That is a final fact of my inner consciousness, and for no religion could I deny its truth.
    • p. 407

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message