Pinyin Lin Yutang, prolific writer of a wide variety of works in Chinese and English and founder in the 1930s of several Chinese magazines specializing in social satire and Western-style journalism.
The son of a Chinese Presbyterian minister, Lin Yü-t'ang was educated for the ministry but renounced Christianity in his early '20s and became a professor of English. In 1919 he traveled to the United States and Europe for advanced study at Harvard University and the University of Leipzig. On his return to China, he continued to teach and served as the editor of several English-language journals. He also contributed essays to Chinese literary magazines.
The peak of Lin Yü-t'ang's literary career in China came in 1932, when he established the Lun-yü pan-yüeh-kan (Analects Fortnightly), a type of Western-style satirical magazine totally new to China at that time. The fortnightly was highly successful, and he soon introduced two more publications.
In 1935 Lin published the first of his many English-language books, My Country and My People. An immediate success, it was widely translated and for years regarded as a standard text on China. The following year he moved to New York City to meet the popular demand for his historical accounts and novels, which he produced in rapid succession. The Wisdom of China and India appeared in 1942.
Although he returned to China briefly in 1943 and again in 1954, Lin Yü-t'ang both times became involved in disputes, often stemming from his stand in favour of literature as self-expression rather than as pure propaganda and social education, as argued by most of the Chinese Communist literary critics. After his second unsuccessful trip to China, he remained in the United States, writing more books on Chinese history and philosophy. He made highly acclaimed English translations of Chinese literary masterpieces, such as Famous Chinese Short Stories Retold (1952).
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