Meaning of CHENG CHEN-TO in English

born 1898, Foochow, Fukien Province, China died Oct. 17, 1958, en route from China to Afghanistan Pinyin Zheng Zhenduo literary historian who studied and collected examples of Chinese vernacular literature and was instrumental in promoting the "new literature" of 20th-century China. After studying in his native Fukien Province, where he began writing short stories and verse as a youth, Cheng Chen-to went to Shanghai and then to Peking to further his education. In Peking he became involved in the movement for literary reform and began what was to become his life-long study of vernacular Chinese literature. With other young writers Cheng Chen-to helped to change the established Hsiao-shuo yeh-pao ("Short-Story Magazine") from a staid publication devoted to old-style Chinese literature into a stimulating journal of the new literature, including poetry, essays, and translations, as well as short stories, the most popular literary genre in China in the 1920s. The magazine served as the organ of the Literary Research Society, committed to social realism in literature, to the introduction of foreign literature into China, and to the creation of a new Chinese literature. Cheng Chen-to was made Peking editor of the magazine upon its reorganization in 1920, and became chief editor in 1926, also contributing essays and translations, but little fiction. In 1927 he travelled to Europe, spending most of his time in the libraries of Paris and London in pursuit of information on his favourite subject, Chinese vernacular literature. On his return to China he continued editing and writing and published in 1932 his first major work on the history of Chinese vernacular literature, followed by three volumes of general and critical essays and an outline of Russian literature. During the Sino-Japanese War (1937-45), Cheng Chen-to roamed the streets of Shanghai in search of the many literary treasures that private owners were forced to sell. After the war Cheng Chen-to headed institutes in the Ministry of Culture and worked to promote international cultural cooperation; he was killed in 1958 when the aircraft carrying his Chinese cultural delegation crashed en route to Afghanistan.

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