The birthday of a writer and a magazine
On September 25, 1881, a baby boy called Zhou Shuren was born into a Confucian household in Shaoxing, a postcard-perfect town south of Shanghai known for its canals and its rice wine. His father was a scholar and his grandfather was an official in the dynastial government in Beijing. It was a large house, with wooden furniture, a fish pond and no shortage of classic books and calligraphy scrolls. But his father was ill and the family fell on hard times, compounded when grandfather was imprisoned for allegedly taking bribes. In the early years of the twentieth century Zhou Shuren studied medicine in Japan on a Qing government scholarship, but decided that he wanted to heal China instead. He started to write essays and stories, fiery and critical, and took a pen name: Lu Xun.