Speaker | Event 60 – Moment in Peking: A Centennial Choice and Story
Moment in Peking is a novel authored by Lin Yutang from 1938 to 1939, who dedicated this work to “valiant Chinese soldiers.” Lin attempts to delineate for the Western society what Chinese culture and tradition look like as well as the lifestyle of the Chinese people working and living on this ancient soil.
In the story, Lin narrates the vicissitudes of three privileged families, Zeng, Yao, and Niu, from the Boxer Rebellion in 1901 until the Anti-Japanese War more than 30 years later. Middle-aged characters and their youth counterparts constitute the discrepancy between “old” and “new”, “tradition” and “progressiveness.”
Furthermore, Lin displays the greater historical and societal background in China by referring to the revival of monarchy by the strongman Yuan Shikai, warlordism, May 4 Movement, World War II, etc. Yao Silan, the female protagonist’s father, serves as a sublimate Eastern illuminati, showing Western readers how Confucianism combined with Taoism guides one’s philosophy of life.
Some might have watched the TV series that Zhao Wei stars. The creative adaptation to some extent alters the story (such as adding a scene of Mulan’s marriage, thus transforming their traits), yet nevertheless, the series could still function as a introductory peek into the book.
This presentation will focus on characters and plots in the novel. Join us and saunter in this centennial choice and story!
Yiwei Hao is a UX researcher in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her B.S. degree at Shanghai Jiaotong University and Master’s degree from Georgia Tech.
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