Mao Dun Mao Tun pseudonym of Shen Yanbing original name Shen Dehong(b. 1896, Qingzhen, Zhejiang province, China--d. March 27, 1981, Beijing)
Editor and author, generally considered China's greatest realistic novelist.
Forced to interrupt his schooling in 1916 because he ran out of money, Shen became a proofreader at the Commercial Press in Shanghai and was soon promoted to editor and translator. In 1920 he and several other young Chinese writers took over editorial control of the 11-year-old journal Xiaoshuo yuebao ("Fiction Monthly"). The group revamped the magazine and elected Shen as editor, a post he occupied until 1923.
In 1927 Shen composed three novelettes, first published serially in 1927-28 in Xiaoshuo yuebao and in book form as a trilogy under the title Shi (1930; "The Canker"). He published Shi under the pseudonym Mao Dun, a pun on the Chinese word for "contradiction," and the work was an instant success. Many of his short stories were anthologized, notably "Chuncan" ("Spring Silkworms"), "Chiushou" ("Autumn Harvest"), and "Candong" ("The Last Days of Winter"). Some of these have been translated in Spring Silkworms and Other Stories (1956).
In 1930 Mao Dun helped found the League of Left-wing Writers. During the Sino-Japanese War (1937-45), he continued his leftist literary activities, founding and editing two patriotic literary journals. After the establishment of the communist government in 1949, Mao Dun was active on several literary and cultural committees, but he stopped writing works of fiction. In the 1970s he became vice president of the Chinese Writers' Association and edited a magazine of children's literature. His novel Hong (1929) was translated into English as Rainbow in 1992.