April 13 Renwen

The Three Literary Giants of Haining: Wang Guowei, Xu Zhimo and Jin Yong


April 13, 2024
8:00 - 9:30 PM EDT

Located in the northern Zhejiang Province of China, Haining is a renowned water town and a cultural hub. This ancient land has nurtured numerous outstanding historical figures who have left an indelible mark on China’s modern history. Among them, Wang Guowei, Xu Zhimo, and Jin Yong are three of the most celebrated personalities from the town.

A scholar of immense influence, Wang Guowei (1877-1927) was a pioneer in the field of Chinese studies and a bridge between Chinese and Western aesthetics. His scholarly achievements spanned literature, aesthetics, history, philosophy, ancient texts, and archaeology. Fluent in English, German, and Japanese, his unique approach to studying the Chinese theater with Western literary theories made him a trailblazer. Wang Guowei’s vast academic legacy includes over 60 works, immensely enriching the cultural treasure trove of China.
A prominent figure in modern Chinese poetry, Xu Zhimo (1897-1931) advocated for new poetic forms and co-founded the famous Crescent Moon Society. His influential works, such as ” Saying Goodbye to Cambridge Again” and “A Night in Florence” have left a lasting impact in the annals of modern Chinese poetry. Beyond his literary contributions, Xu Zhimo was a dedicated social activist who actively promoted cultural exchange, hosting Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore during his visit to China in 1924 and traveling extensively throughout Europe and America.
Born Louis Cha, Jin Yong (1924-2018) was a renowned writer and scholar who achieved international acclaim under his pen name. A graduate with a Master’s and PhD in philosophy from Cambridge University, Jin Yong was also a successful journalist and social activist. However, his most celebrated achievements lie in the realm of wuxia (martial arts) fiction. He authored 15 captivating wuxia novels, including The Book and the Sword and Legends of Condor Heroes, which have been adapted into numerous movies and television series, captivating audiences worldwide. Jin Yong’s influence extends beyond language barriers, with his works translated into English, Japanese, French, and many other languages. His contributions were recognized with prestigious awards, including the Grand Bauhinia Medal, Hong Kong’s highest honor, and the French Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. In 2001, an asteroid was even named “Jin Yong” by the International Astronomical Union in his honor.

In this lecture, Mr. Liu Peiliang, a cultural and historical expert hailing from Haining, will delve into the lives of these three literary masters and explore their profound contributions to Chinese literature, history, and society.






China Institute’s cultural programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.


Liu Peiliang 刘培良

Mr. Liu Peiliang brings a wealth of expertise to this lecture. A local cultural researcher and president of the Wang Guowei Research Association, he holds memberships in both the China Prose Association and the Zhejiang Writers Association. Mr. Liu's published works include biographies on figures like Xu Shenru (father of poet Xu Zhimo) and insightful studies like "Young Wang Guowei." To enrich the lecture experience for the audience, he will showcase videos of the former residences of all three masters alongside relevant photographs.



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