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The Former Residence of Mao Dun

Mao Dun’s original name was Shen Dehong.and he was a native of Tongxiang in Zhejiang Province. He spent the last eight years of his life in a large Beijing courtyard house,with 20 rooms altogerher and one courtyard each in the front and back of the house. Grapevines creep along a large trellis, two white wax trees and two cypresses guard happy memories and present a calm atmosphere in contrast to the nearby bustling Annei Dajie Street. In the center of the front courtyard atands a marble half-length statue of Mao Dun ,erected in 1986. The back courtyard and its surrounding rooms remain as they were originally. In the sitting room there are rows of bookshelves preserved as they were when Mao Dun used them ..The calendar on the big desk shows February 19,1981, before he was hospitalized .A well patched set of night clothes hangs on one wall. In his later years, Mao Dun contributed all the payments he received for his works,a total of 250,000yuan(about US$30,120) to set up the Mao Dun Literary Award to encourage the production of novels.

Entering the front courtyard of the quadrangle, one is met with a screen wall inlaid with a marble plaque that carries an inscription written by the wife of late premier Zhou Enlai, Deng Yingchao: "Mao Dun Gu Ju," or "the Former Residence of Mao Dun." The houses surrounding the front courtyard are sitting rooms and libraries. There are also two rooms used to display Mao's biography and some 400 mementos, including his manuscripts, letters, and literature periodicals. In the center of the courtyard is a square grape trellis, which Mao equipped with a swing. He often played here with his granddaughter."

Born plain old Shen Dehong in Zhejiang, Mao studied in Hangzhou and published his first work before taking a place at Peking University studying Chinese and Western literature. He couldn’t afford to finish his degree, dropping out to take jobs on a variety of cultural periodicals. Penning the Chinese classics Hong (1930) and Midnight (1933), Shen adopted the pen name Mao Dun, meaning ‘contradiction’, as a reference to the contradictary revolutionary ideology in 1920s China, though his friend Ye Shengtou later made him change the first character so it read ‘thatch’ to protect him from political persecution.

A believer in the Communist cause from the start, he was involved throughout their ascent to power and served as the minister of culture until 1964 when he ended up on the wrong end of a persecution during the Cultural Revolution. He was rehabilitated during the ’70s and went on to edit a children’s magazine. He died in 1981 before he could finish his memoirs, but leaves a legacy in the Mao Dun Literature Prize, which is awarded to outstanding novelists. His old house was made a key state-preserved relic in 1994.

Address: No.13, Yuanensi Alley , back of Jiaodaokou south street
Route:bus routes104,108,113,803,815

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