Titel: Bing Xin: Fanxing - Chunshui / A Maze of Stars - Spring Water (zweisprachig Chinesisch-Englisch) - 冰心: 繁星 - 春水 (汉英对照)
Author / Editor: 冰心 Bin Xin (著 Autorin)， （美）凯利 John Cayley， （美）鲍贵思 Grace M. Boynton (译 Übersetzer)
ISBN: 978-7-5447-0922-4, 9787544709224
Series: 新课标双语文库 xin kebiao shuangyu wenku
Publisher: Yilin Press - 译林出版社
Language: bilingual Chinese-English
Date of Publication: 2009.06
Number of pages: 231
Dimensions: 15,1 x 22,9 cm
An anthology of representative poems by Bing Xin, a writer of the Fourth May Movement. Themes are maternal love, the natural world and childishness. Bilingual Chinese-English edition.
My real name is Xie Wanying, and I was born on the fifth of October 1900 … in Fuzhou, Fujian province … In 1901 we moved to Shanghai. At that time my father was an officer of the Qing Imperial Navy, serving as a Commander …
In 1904 we moved to Yantai (in Shandong) where my father was made Head of the Naval College. My early years were spent by the seashore and I became especially fond of the open ocean. This is why there are frequent references to the sea in my early works.
In 1911 just before the outbreak of the Republican Revolution, my father resigned as head of the Naval College. The whole family returned to Fuzhou. While we had been in Shandong I had not entered elementary school, but had been merely a “part-time scholar” in our private family school. When we returned to Fuzhou I entered the preparatory class of the Fuzhou Normal School for Girls.
After the founding of the Chinese Republic, my father went to Beijing to serve as Director of the Naval Studies Bureau of the Admiralty, and in 1913 I arrived in Beijing with my family.
In 1914 I entered the American Congregationalist Bridgman Academy for Girls in Beijing, and on graduation in 1918, enrolled at the Peking Union College for Women. I was studying physical sciences there, and because of my mother’s weakness in the face of many illnesses, I began to set my heart on taking up medicine.
In 1919 came the explosion of the May Fourth Movement. At that time I was a secretary for the Students’ Association of the Union College, and was composing occasional propaganda pieces. Riding the tide of the May Fourth Revolution, I began to publish some of the short pieces I had written in Beijing’s Chen Bao. The extent of my propaganda activities hat their inevitable effects on the practical classes of my science studies, and the only thing for it was to switch to the Department of Literature. It was at this time that the Union College was amalgamated with Yenching (Yanjing) University.
In 1923, I graduated from the Arts Faculty of Yenching University with a B.A. in Literature, a “Golden Key” award and a scholarship to Wellesley College in America, where I wished to study English literature. I was also forced to spend seven months in hospital due to a reoccurrence of tuberculosis.
In 1926 after finishing my studies and obtaining an M.A., I returned to China and taught at Yenching University, Qinghua University and at the Beijing Women’s Wenli College.
Sometime after 1921 the Literary Research Society had published my collection of short stories Superman, and the poetic fragments A Maze of Stars. In 1926 Beixin Shuju published Spring Water and the collection of prose pieces Letters to Young Readers. In 1931 Beixin Shuju published The Collected Works of Bingxin, while amongst the separate collections they published was The Past and Winter Girl.
During the War of Resistance against Japan, in 1938 I first went to Kunming, then to Chongqing in 1940, and wrote About Women which was first brought out by the Tiandi and later by the Kaiming Shudian publishing houses.
After victory in the War of Resistance I went to Japan. From 1949 to 1950 I taught a course on “China’s New Literature” at Tokyo University… I recall that a few small pieces appeared in various Japanese newspapers and periodicals from Kyoto University at the time.
After I arrived back in China in 1951 and finished such works as After the Return, my creative life took a new turn. The People’s Literary Press, Beijing People’s Press and Tianjin Baihua Press published my collections of short stories and prose Bingxin’s Selected Prose and Short Stories, After the Return, We’ve Awakened the Spring, In Praise of Cherry Blossom, Gleanings, The Orange-lamp and Late Clearing.
In 1958 I started to write More Letters to Young Readers.
After 1954 I had been elected as delegate to successive sessions of the National People’s Congress and in 1978 I was elected to the Standing Committee of the fifth National People’s Political Consultative Conference. In 1979, at the fourth meeting of the Congress of Literary and Art Workers I was elected council member of the Writers Association and vice-chairwoman of the Federation of Literary and Art Circles. In the same year I was elected vice-chairwoman of the Chinese Association for Promoting Democracy.
After the smashing of the “Gang of Four” I began to publish Letters to Young Readers, III in the periodical Ertong Shidai.
Table of Contents:
How I Wrote A Maze of Stars and Spring Water
A Maze of Stars
当我浮云般 When I go and come
自来自去的时候， Just like a floating cloud
真觉得宇宙太寂寞了。 I feel the Universe is too lonely.
How I Wrote A Maze of Stars and Spring Water
Amongst the many forms of New Poetry which arose after the May the Fourth Movement can be counted the so-called“short poem” or“mini poem”. This type of poem can be very short, the shortest having only two lines. All the pieces in my collections—A Maze of Stars and Spring Water—are short poems and so many people consider me to be the first to have written in this way. When I think it over now, I cannot remember whether I had read many mini poems by my contemporaries or not. In any case, when I wrote A Maze of Stars and Spring Water, I was not writing poetry. All I did—under the influence of Tagore’s Stray Birds—was to gather together my “scattered and fragmentary thoughts”.
What happened was this. At the time of the May the Fourth Movement I was still studying at university. In the wake of the New Literature, all sorts of new periodicals were appearing like flowers after spring rain. Not only did these carry diatribes against imperialism and feudalism, there were also introductions to and criticism of foreign literature, as well as short stories, new poetry, and prose, all in the vernacular. Then, our thirst for knowledge was at its height, and we greedly devoured these periodicals outside our lessons or even hid them under our textbooks, stealing glances at them openly. If we happened upon some sentence which particularly pleased us we’d note it in a few “oblique” words or phrases in the margins of our notebooks. Soon this became a habit and sometimes we wrote out random jottings about what we felt or remembered of where we’d been and what we’d done, “obliquely” in a few words or phrases. The days mounted up and these notes accumulated. Although each one might only be three to five lines long, when you arranged them in sequence, they did, after all, seem to relate to your circumstances. Later, when you looked these words over they conjured up a true and intimate picture—you couldn’t give them up.
Meanwhile in some magazine or other I happened to see serialized Zheng Zhenduo’s translation of Tagore’s Stray Birds. (Tagore’s lyrics make use of forms from folk poetry and song. Their language is both simple and beautiful, has a strong musical quality, and is deeply imbued with his love for the Indian people. When he translated his own poems from Bengali into English, in order to preserve their meaning, he did not carry over their rhymes or their arrangement into lines, translating them instead as poetic prose. I only learned this later. Whether Stray Birds was originally in the form of folk poetry, I am still uncertain.) Stray Birds is a collection of short pieces of few words and phrases but filled with poetic feeling, artistic insight and philosophical understanding. I was startled. It struck me that the jottings in the margins of my notebooks could also be brought together and set in order. As I collected them I chose those which were particularly poetic, those which were particularly resonant and suggestive, and put them in sequence. Because they were scattered and fragmentary thoughts I chose one piece which started with the words “a maze of stars” and placed it at the beginning, calling the whole my “Maze of Stars” collection.
If Tagore’s Stray Birds was a collection of poetry, then wasn’t my Maze of Stars also? I don’t have much confidence in my own opinion on this point, especially since when I wrote these few words and phrases I was not consciously writing poetry. (When taking a course on New Literature, I had heard the teacher lecture on Greek epigrams, saying various things about them such as that they were brief but pointed and vigorous. Like bees, although their bodies were tiny they had a sting in their tails, and whether they were satirical or discursive they were capable of drawing blood. However, when writing A Maze of Stars I hadn’t thought of Greek epigrams.) Thus in my preface to the 1932 collected works there is this paragraph:
“Speaking of scattered and fragmentary thoughts, I’d like to go on to talk about A Maze of Stars and Spring Water... A Maze of Stars and Spring Water are not poetry. At least, at that time I was not setting out to write poetry. I still didn’t understand the New Poetry and was very wary and unwilling to experiment. I believe that the essence of poetry is content rather than form, but at the same time a poem which is unrhymed and loosely organized, if not divided into lines, is easily confused with ‘poetic prose’. My writing A Maze of Stars was just as set out in its colophon—following Tagore’s Stray Birds and imitating their form, I collected together my scattered and fragmentary thoughts... It is something like a collection of ‘jottings’....”
I now think that the reason for my unwillingness to call A Maze of Stars and Spring Water poetry was that, inwardly, I harboured a belief in standards for poetry. I thought that poetry had to follow formal rules—whether they were New or Old—and that its musicality must be relatively pronounced. The sentiments had equally to be modulated by poetic cadences. If a poem was made from a few words and phrases it couldn’t avoid becoming excessively weak and slovenly. Because of this, apart from those three hundred odd pieces of “scattered and fragmentary thoughts” which I wrote around the age of nineteen, my work contains nothing else like A Maze of Stars or Spring Water.
Later at Xishan in February 1921, I wrote a short prose piece called Beloved and sent it to the Chenbao literary supplement. When it appeared it had been split up and arranged in lines like poetry with the following comments by the editor printed beneath it:
“This short piece exudes a poetic sensibility. There can be no objection to its having been printed in lines and placed in the ‘Poetry’ column. (After all it is no great matter whether something is written in lines or in paragraphs. To see whether or not a piece is poetry we have to look at the meaning of the words. Luckily this paper’s division into ‘columns’ is simply a loose overall convention, and isn’t meant to force certain types of writing to be published in particular columns. The ‘Jottings’ column has previously published some things which were equally charged with poetic sensibility, but then the interrelation of these columns is not new.)”
Only after this did I begin to write New Poetry with confidence, sometimes with rhyme and sometimes without, for the time being ceasing to raise the subject.
After going over the story of the writing of A Maze of Stars and Spring Water and setting it out above, I myself recently re-read these pieces. I’ve noticed that quite a few are rhymed and that they have a sufficiency of poetic significance. Their main fault—which they share with my other work—is precisely what comrade Zhou Yang has pointed out, “New Poetry has still a great fault, and this most fundamental fault is its continuing failure to properly unite with the working masses.” This is to say that at that time, during a great period of thunderous and determined struggle against imperialism and feudalism, I was still concentrating on describing my personal concerns, my individual experiences and feelings, and was neither expressing the feelings and thoughts of the working masses, nor making use of those linguistic-literary forms which the working masses know and love. Musicality here is very important. When the feelings of working people overflow, their songs are always rhymed. I have still to read an unrhymed poem by a worker, peasant or soldier. As for brevity of form, this, on the other hand, is not a fault. Nowadays we have many examples of folk poetry which expresses a great revolutionary spirit and a deep understanding of Communism in the space of four brief lines. The poetry of the working masses is brief without being weak and energetic without being slovenly. There are lessons to be learned from the thoughts and experience of such poets.