Literary Archives in China

In the present difficult and challenging times, this is a “solidarity post”, with best wishes to all our friends and archival colleagues in China.

China is a country rich in literary archives, in a variety of locations. For non-Chinese researchers and interested literary archivists, one of the best ways to gain insights and access to these collections is to proceed author by author.

Lu Xun
An excellent example is the author Lu Xun (real name: Zhou Shuren, 1881-1936). Essayist, polemicist, poet and author of stories such as Diary of a madman and True story of Ah Q, Lu Xun lived at different times in his life in both Beijing and Shanghai. It is appropriate therefore that his personal effects, including literary manuscripts and correspondence, are divided between two principal institutions (two fascinating visits).

Beijing Lu Xun Museum is a writer’s house museum in Fucheng Gate Avenue, founded in 1956. In addition to books, manuscripts and personal papers, it holds an extensive collection of artworks and photographs.

Shanghai Lu Xun Memorial Museum (also known as Former Residence of Lu Xun) is situated an easy walk from centre of Shanghai into the more peaceful suburbs, near the park also named after Lu Xun. The house is preserved very much as it was at the time of the writer’s death, and includes displays (as well as archival stores) of his literary manuscripts.