Lao She

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Lao She (Chinese: 老舍; pinyin: Lǎo Shě, February 3, 1899 – August 24, 1966) was a notable Chinese writer. A novelist and dramatist, he was one of the most significant figures of 20th century Chinese literature, and is perhaps best known for his novel Rickshaw Boy and the play Teahouse (茶館). He was of Manchu ethnicity. His works are known especially for their vivid use of the Beijing dialect.



Early life

Lao She's original name was Shū Qìngchūn (舒庆春)(Sumuru in Manchu). He was born in Beijing, to a poor family of the Sūmuru clan belonging to the Red Banner. His father, who was a guard soldier, died in a street battle with the Eight-Power Allied Forces in the course of the Boxer Rebellion events in 1901. "During my childhood," Lao She later recalled, "I didn't need to hear stories about evil ogres eating children and so forth; the foreign devils my mother told me about were more barbaric and cruel than any fairy tale ogre with a huge mouth and great fangs. And fairy tales are only fairy tales, whereas my mother's stories were 100 percent factual, and they directly affected our whole family." [1]. In 1913, he was admitted to the Beijing Normal Third High School (currently Beijing Third High School), but had to leave after several months because of financial difficulties. In the same year, he was accepted into the Beijing Institute for Education, where he graduated in 1918.

Teaching and Writing Career

Between 1918 and 1924, Lao She was involved as administrator and faculty member at a number of primary and secondary schools in Beijing and Tianjin. He was highly influenced by the May Fourth Movement (1919). He stated, "[The] May Fourth [Movement] gave me a new spirit and a new literary language. I am grateful to [The] May Fourth [Movement], as it allowed me to become a writer."

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