Shen Congwen is one of the most famous Chinese authors of the twentieth century, and also the least known outside his homeland. Born in Hunan in 1902, Shen moved to Beijing in the 1920s where he attended classes at Peking University. He began writing later that decade, although his most famous works were produced in the 1930s and 1940s. Political persecution in the decades that followed led to his general withdrawal from literary life.

Despite his relative obscurity beyond China, Shen wrote more than 80 compilations of prose and poetry during his lifetime, making him the most prolific Chinese author in the 20th century. Nominated for a Nobel Prize in 1987, Chen lost and was renominated in 1988, only to pass away in April before the award ceremony in which he was favored to win. If you enjoy this story and are looking for more, we highly recommend his medium-length novel 边城, a dream-like story set in Hunan.

Note: since our collection of Chinese short stories are fairly advanced materials, we're doing something interesting with our lesson vocabulary: highlighting some older words and phrases you will find mostly in literature, along with some more colloquial words with their origin in the Sichuan dialect. If you'd like to add other words in any of our transcripts to your vocabulary lists, just click on any popup to have it automatically added to your account.
 said on
May 19, 2011
There's an error on the online and PDF transcript page.

I love the Short Stories :)
 said on
August 9, 2011
The first (larger) paragraph has no popup transcript!

 said on
October 10, 2013
檐 What does this mean? Evulsion doesnt exist.

And echo Huyilins comment. Thanks.
 said on
September 19, 2015
Just a friendly reminder, the above-mentioned paragraph still has no popup script.