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Two events relating to Lu Xun occurred in 1926/27 that bear on his literary biography and on political readings of Republican-era literary history. First, his fiction, which formed the core of his exceptional influence, came to an end; second, he made his first overt steps towards an explicit political commitment to the left. The end of Lu Xun's fiction has been largely passed over for lack of explicit evidence, whereas his choice in political orientation is much studied as a critical factor in leftist literary history. This paper aims to bring the two actions into equal visibility, and by doing so, to enable the cessation of fiction to revise our view of the turn to politics. It proposes that he did in fact make a kind of farewell to fiction, identifies the pertinent works, pinpoints and analyzes the oblique language employed, and proposes a relatively short period for this change. This conjecture uses puzzling passages from his fictional works and essays, as well as letters, diaries, and insider gossip. Their analysis re-contextualizes our view of Lu Xun’s acknowledged prominent role in the development of leftist literature.



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