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Madmen and Other SurvivorsReading Lu Xun's Fiction$
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Jeremy Tambling

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9789622098244

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622098244.001.0001

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On A Madman's Diary

On A Madman's Diary

(p.25) 3 On A Madman's Diary
Madmen and Other Survivors

Jeremy Tambling

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter presents a reading of A Madman's Diary, the first, and one of the most influential of Lu Xun's short stories. It seems that two possible sources for A Madman's Diary were personal: the “feverish intensity” of the mental state of the madman “recalls Lu Xun's description of his father on his deathbed,” which Lu Xun wrote about in an essay, “Father's Illness.”. There was another incident, which one of Lu Xun's biographers describes as a real-life paranoia, where everything that happens becomes circumstantial evidence to prove that the person is being persecuted. The diary shows the loneliness involved in madness, in the way the “madman” wanted to write everything down, as if trying to avoid his loneliness that way.

Keywords:   paranoia, vernacular Chinese, madness, humanism, Lu Xun, loneliness

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