宗璞原名冯宗璞，1928 年出生，河南唐河人。其父为著名哲学家冯友兰。抗战爆发后，随父亲到昆明，就读西南联大附属中学。1946 年入南开大学外文系，1948 年转入清华大学外文系。毕业后做过《世界文学》编辑，后来长期在中国社会科学院外国文学研究所工作。
Zong Pu is the pen name of Feng Zhongpu ( 冯 钟 璞 ). She was born in 1928 in Beijing. With her hometown located in Tanghe county, Henan province. Her father is Mr. Feng Youlan, a famous Chinese philosopher. Upon the outbreak of the War of Resistance Against Japan in 1937, she moved with her father to Kunming, where she attended a High School affiliated to National Southwestern Associated University. In 1946, she began her college study in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Nankai University. In 1948, she transferred to the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Tsinghua University. Upon graduation in 1951, she initially worked as an editor for World Literature. Later she was transferred to work at the Institute of Foreign Literature, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, until her retirement.
Her main works include short stories such as Red Beans, The Unsinkable Lake, Dream on the Strings, and The Everlasting Rockand etc., as well as a series of novels under the title of The Wild Gourd Suite, including Note of Heading South, Note of Hiding in the East and Note of Marching West. She is the recipient of the 1977-1980 National Award for Best Novella and the Mao Dun Literature Prize in 2005.
Note of Hiding in the East unfolds around the Meng family in Kunming during the war, their relatives, friends and colleagues, describing their pain and suffering caused by the war and the resultant deep insights into life.
The novel features a simple structure and narrates a story of faculty and students relocation to the south in a chronological order. It focuses on the daily occurrences in the family and on campus since the relocation instead of the big events. Amongst literary works on similar themes, this novel, unique in its autobiographical perspective, is simple, true to life and deeply touching. The harsh material conditions during the war actually inspire patriotic fervor. The novel exudes thorough determination to achieve victory throughout.
The author describes the psychology of the characters in a delicate, acute and well-balanced manner. She is reminiscent of her own childhood and youth during the war.
抗战期间的 1938 年，明仑大学迁到昆明，建立了简易的校舍，坚持办学。历史系教授孟樾和妻子吕碧初都很喜欢昆明的气候，只是，由于经常遭到敌机轰炸，经常需要跑警报。大女儿峨在上美国教师课的时候，遇到了自己以前的男同学。周末，碧初一家人去给大姐素初庆祝生日，来到了阎公馆，在重庆的二姐绛初、澹台勉夫妇也来了，三姐妹在战乱的昆明相聚。素初的丈夫严亮祖是滇军将领，参加过台儿庄战役，立有战功，因在武汉保卫战中有闪失，如今在昆明修整部队，等候再赴前线。严亮祖的妾荷珠养了癞蛤蟆等古怪东西，为了辟邪，是家里权力的拥有者。聚会期间，收到北平寄来的讣告，得知吕老先生去世。
雪妍在《流不尽的芒河水》中，记述了自己来到明仑大学后的新生活，她找到了在学校教法文的工作，还学会了做饭和洗衣服。1940 年 5 月的一个夜晚，庄卣辰教授做名为“欧洲战场”的时事讲座，之后，峨、仉新雷等到茶馆小坐。峨参加植物标本采集课，坐船到滇池中心，来到太华寺。峨求了一签，上写“强求不可得，何必用强求！随缘且随分，自然不可谋。”
In 1938, the second year of the War of Resistance Against Japan, Minglun University is relocated to Kunming, the capital of China’s southwestern province Yunnan, where makeshift buildings are constructed in order to continue educating. Meng Yue, a professor of history, and his wife Lü Bichu both enjoy the weather in Kunming, although they constantly need to seek shelter against enemy air raids. Er, their eldest daughter meets her ex-male classmate during a class with an American teacher. One weekend, Bichu’s family visits the mansion of the Yan family, the home of her eldest sister Suchu, to celebrate her birthday. Jiangchu, her second elder sister, and Tantai Mian, her husband, also come from Chongqing, the provisional capital during the War, for the occasion. The three sisters celebrate their reunion in war-ravaged Kunming. Yan Liangzu, Suchu’s husband, is a general of the Yunnan army. He serves with distinction in The Battle of Tai’erzhuang. Later he suffers a mishap during the Battle of Wuhan, the wartime provisional capital before it falls to the Japanese in 1938. He is currently reassembling his troops in anticipation of marching again to the frontlines. Hezhu, his concubine, is the real mistress of the household. She keeps weird things like toads to exorcise evil spirits. During the reunion, an obituary arrives from Beiping (name of Beijing from 1928 to 1949, when Nanjing was the official capital of the Republic of China), announcing the passing of the father of the three sisters.
The Meng family holds a memorial service for Bichu’s father in the suburbs. They come under enemy air raid. Mei, the second daughter, faints from shellshock. Back in Kunming, the family discovers a crater the size of a vintage car in front of their house, which is half demolished by the air raid. Meng Yue manages to recover pieces of furniture such as their bed, table and chairs as well as utensils from the rubble. His manuscripts are also found intact in his bookcase. Xiaowa, his son, also digs out from the rubble an ink stone. Xiaowa has by now grown out of his fascination with aeroplanes, which he now sees as murder weapons.
In her article The Winter-Sweet Grove that Will not Fall to Enemy Bombs, Bichu expresses her memory of her father and describes the condition of her family during the war. She states that, “the winter-sweet grove will not fall to enemy bombs,” and “whatever the hardship, flight, bombing, disease...we shall overcome and build a new life for ourselves.”
After the lunar New Year, Mei starts to attend the Kunjing High School for Girls, which is situated on the mountains. She gets to know Yin Dashi, a classmate from a prosperous family. After lights out, Mei, Yin Dashi and a couple of other classmates sneak out to the foot of the mountain to eat beans and watch the moon. Zhao Yuping, one of her classmates, suffers a snakebite.
It is part of daily routine for wartime Kunming residents to seek shelter upon the sounding of air raid alarm. Faculty and students of Minglun University have become used to this. Whenever air raid alarms begin to sound, they will escape with campstools to the suburbs to continue their class. They will only go into shelter once the drone of enemy bombers drowns out the sound of their discussion.
Mei falls sick with fever. She is moved from the school and checked into a hospital. Bichu decides to move the family to the countryside.
Early in the summer of 1939 the Meng family moves to Longwei village. Their neighbor is Qian Mingjing, a lecturer from the Chinese Department. Mr. Zhao, the landlord, keeps pigs, chickens, cats, dogs and horses. The living conditions are passable except for the inconvenient sanitary arrangement. One day, when Bichu goes to fetch water from the well, she hears light laughter in Qian’s home. When the pail falls to the bottom of the well, Bichu calls Huifen, Mrs. Qian, for help and receives no answer. She then recalls that Huifen has left for town. Bichu asks Huifen to help cut her long hair and learns from Huifen the news that Wei Feng, her relative, and his wife, Xueyan, are in Guiyang, the capital of neighboring province of Guizhou. Qian Mingjing studies oracle bone inscriptions and, with business acumen, deals in jade and precious stones. He has had various extra-marital affairs, which have so far all been forgiven by Huifen. Upon discovery of his latest affair, however, Huifen insists on a divorce. Qian Mingjing desires promotion to professorship and visits Bai Liwen, an expert on paleography, to seek his support. Erudite as he is, Bai Liwen is eccentric and prone to verbal abuse.
Weifeng and Xueyan arrive at Meng Yue’s home after a long and arduous journey from Guiyang. They recall the past with strong emotions. In 1937, Weifeng arrives in Yan’an from Beiping. First he works as a teacher at the Chinese People’s Military and Political University against Japan and then leaves to work at a radio station. Xueyan receives Weifeng’s message, asking her to join him in Yan’an. Ashamed of the fact that her father has become a collaborator with the Japanese aggressors, she comes to Yan’an under the escort of Weifeng’s friend. Sometime later, the Communist Party of China arranges for Weifeng to teach at Minglun University in order to expand the influence of the Party. Consequently, Weifeng and Xueyan come to Kunming together.
In her article Endlessly Flows the Mang River, Xueyan describes her new life at Minglun University: she has found a post teaching French and learned to cook and launder.
One evening in May 1940, after attending a lecture by professor Zhuang Youchen on the current situation of “the War in the European Theater,” Er, Zhang Xinlei and other students chat in a teashop. During her field trip to collect specimen for the botany class, Er sails to the center of the Dian Lake and asks for an oracle bamboo slip at Taihua temple, which reveals to her that “all good matches are made in heaven and occur by divine will only.”
The graduation ceremony has to be broken up in a hurry due to air raid warning. However, teachers and students sing the magnificent school song and drown out the sharp noise of air raid warning. During the summer vacation, the Meng family moves to the side yard of a research institute for the humanities on Baotai Mountain. Though living hand to mouth themselves, they still receive and entertain many visitors. Once Bai Liwen comes and gobbles up half of the meat dish for dinner. After the Pearl Harbor incident, air raids occur less frequently. Spring returns to Kunming. During one of the performances for the troops, Baofei, wife of Mr. Mi, the elderly Jewish gentleman, suffers a miscarriage, drawing attention to this wandering race without a nation.
In his article The Trial and Tribulation of a Wandering Jew, Mr. Mi wonders where country and home are for a Jew. He once worked in Qingdao, a once German concession and was discriminated against once back in Germany due to his race. While other countries refuse to accept the request of asylum by him and his wife, China opens her door to them. Tragically, his wife dies on the boat to China. On the boat he gets to know Baofei, a Jewess with a scar on her face, whose husband and son have been murdered by the Nazis. United by a common fate, they console each other and finally get married.
Around the time Minglun University decides whether to continue to engage members of the faculty, Bai Liwen, absent for a year, suddenly returns, only to be told that his contract will not be renewed. Bichu, Huifen and other wives of members of the faculty open up a stall to sell steamed buns with fillings such as scallions and meat, sesame and sugar as well as twisted steamed rolls with salt and pepper. Their business booms. However, Er does not approve. One day, Xueyan drops by to lend a hand and suddenly faints. The doctor declares that she is pregnant.
Kunming is now much more prosperous than compared with a few years ago. Jeeps driven by crews of US air force can be frequently seen on the streets. A new cinema with state-of-the-art facilities has opened up. Er declares her affection to professor Xiao Ziwei and receives a gentle refusal. When Zhang Xinlei proposes, she immediately accepts. On the way to breaking the news to her parents, to avoid collision with military vehicle, Zhang Xinlei veers and falls off the cliff to his death while Er suffers a mild injury. At her insistence, news of their engagement is published in the paper. Bichu wants to sell her jade ear pendants and pins to pay for daily expenses. Qian Mingjing happens to visit and take them away to look for potential buyers. The articles penned by Meng Yue on the history of Song dynasty are construed as an implicit attack on the government. Two agents take away Meng Yue without giving a reason and release him half way. Yan Liangzu comes to bid farewell to the Meng family as he is ready to march to the frontlines.
Xueyan gives birth to a son and names him Wei Lingnan. One day, she comes to the pond to launder and falls into the water to her death. In The Song of Wei Lingnan, her son expresses the pain at the loss of his mother and condemns the war. He can only cry, “crying is my song”. The Meng family returns to the city. Mei participates in a charity performance, whose motive is however thrown into doubt due to suspected embezzlement.
Spring goes and summer comes. Kunming is in bloom. People change too. Weifeng leaves Kunming. Mei graduates from high school and is admitted to the math department at Minglun University. The leadership at universities in Kunming convenes meetings. According to the plan promulgated, the universities will be relocated and senior students will be drafted into the army. It is the consensus amongst all that “we shall never surrender.”
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