This is the first independent, full-life biography of Lu Xun, the most celebrated Chinese writer of the twentieth century, in any European language.
It sets aside all the propaganda that has accrued over the sixty-six years since his death, and presents him as a credible human being, neither aggrandized nor belittled. As Lu Xun's life spanned the transition from Manchu empire to citizens' Republic, it can be seen as one man's history of China's progress to modernity―a progress in which he personally played a significant part.
The facts of Lu Xun's life are presented objectively, but they do not always speak for themselves. The author has therefore drawn on his lifelong study of modern Chinese literature to offer intelligent interpretations where necessary. Since the subject of this biography was a writer, the author has appended to the chronicle some brief 'sketches' of his work for the benefit of those unacquainted with it.