Nankai University holding a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of Mu Dan’s birth


April 5th of 2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mu Dan-the modern patriot poet. To commemorate this famous poet and translator, College of Foreign Languages and College of Literature of Nankai Universiyh held the 100th Birthday of Zhang Liangzheng (the original name of Mu Dan) and an International Seminar of Poetry Translation.

More than one hundred scholars at home and abroad as well as teachers and students of NK attended the opening ceremony of the seminar, including Gong Ke- former president of Nankai University and President of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, Zhu Guanglei-Vice President of Nankai University, Liu Wenfei-President of the Russian Literature Research Association, Tian Yun-Vice Zhairman of the Federation of Literary and Art Circles of Jiaxing City and Vice Zhairman of the Haining Municipal CPPCC, Zha Yingchuan-Zha Liangzheng’s eldest son and his daughter Zha Ping, Gu Yu-a famous translator , Professor Wang Hongyin- an expert of the translation research of Mu Dan’s poems and Professor Yi Bin- a famous research expert of MuDan.

Zha Liangzheng (1918-1977), whose pen name is Mu Dan, was originally from Zhejiang Haining and was born in Tianjin. After graduating from the Southwest Associated University in 1940, he stayed to teach. In 1942, Mu Dan joined the Chinese Expeditionary Force and entered the Burma battlefield as an interpreter. He went to the United States in 1949 to study in the Department of English Literature of the University of Chicago. In 1952 he received a Master of Arts degree. After returning to China in 1953, he was appointed associate professor of the college of foreign languages at Nankai University. He died at the age of 59 in1977. Mu Dan began his poetry writing during the middle school period. His major works were included in the three poem collections published in the 1940s: Explorers (1945), Mu Dan's Poetry Collection (1947), and Flag (1948). In 2007, People's Literature Publishing House published Poetry Collectionof Mu Dan. His poems are full of passionate patriotism and awareness of national suffering, which have opened up a direction for the creation of modern Chinese poetry and have been hailed as the first poet for creating poetry of new style in China. Mu Dan is proficient in both English and Russian languages. His translation includes Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, Shelley's To a Skylark and the Selected Lyrical Poems of Persy Bysshe Shelley, Byron's Don Juan and Selected Poems of George Byron and Keats's Selected Poems of John Keats. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Mu Dan's birth, Nankai University held a ceremony of presenting flowers to the statue of Mu Dan before the opening ceremony. Gong Ke, the children of Mu Dan, the experts and scholars who attended the conference all went to the Mudan Garden on the eastern side of Fan Sun Buiding and presented flowers to the statue of Mu Dan in turn to pay tribute to the extraordinary life of the patriotic poet.

“I like finishing my delighted work stilly by the window at the winter afternoon. It’s only four o’clock, the sun is so faint and cold, I’ll irrigate my heart with a cup of wine. Oh, the life so speedily has reached severe winter...””My friends! When we are excited about freedom and our heart is still strongly beating, let’s devote our soul to our homeland...” The person in Zharge of the College of Foreign Languages read Mr. Mu Dan’s poem Winter and the selected parts of Pushkin“To Zhadayev”in a wish that the spirit of Mu Dan would last forever.

Then the opening ceremony of the 100th Anniversary of Zha Liangzheng (Mu Dan) and the International Seminar of Poetry Translation was held at the Oriental Art Building.

“Today is the 100th anniversary of Mr. Mu Dan’s birth and it is also during this a hundred years that the Chinese nation gained its prosperity gradually from its decline. Today we are commemorating Mr. Mu Dan in the 100-year history of the Chinese nation.”At the opening ceremony, Gong Ke shared his high regard for this great poet.“What do we remember Mr. Mu Dan for? I think we should commemorate his specially patriotic sentiment, his heart full of mercy, and his persistent pursuit of literature and pure beauty.” Gong Ke recommended Mr. Mu Dan’s memoir A nation has risen to students and encouraged them by saying that if you want to study poetry, read such poetry; if you want to learn from others, learn such people.

Zhu Guanglei said at the opening ceremony, “Today's commemoration is to learn Mr. Mu Dan's concern about the future and destiny of the country and the nation,his pursuit of truth and his active spread of outstanding literature; today's commemoration is to learn his enthusiasm and hard work for the work of the party’s literary and educational career and his strong sense of responsibility and mission to cultivate and educate the younger generation. Mr. Mu Dan belongs China and the whole world as well Nan Kai! We must not only remember Mu Dan, but also study and learn form him which is the mission of the Nankai people and the responsibility of the Chinese academic community.”

“Mr. Mu Dan is the ascetic and sufferer of translation, who was the first translator to introduce Western perspectives and paradigms. He is the best translator among Chinese poets and the best poet among Chinese translators.”Liu Wenfei showed deep admiration when he recalled Mr. Mu Dan.“I admire Nankai University for having such a rich literary legacy. At the same time, I pay tribute to your effort to  cherish and guard this literary legacy.”

“Mr. Mu Dan lived a life of twists and turns, but diligent and eager to learn, he worked hard to pursue the truth; he also loved the people, and he was open, honest and strict with himself, setting a shining example for our future generations. His Zharacter, thought, and knowledge still  deeply influence and inspire us, and will continue to be the spiritual driving force for us to serve our motherland.”Tian Yun expressed his unreserved respect for this“fellowman”at the opening ceremony.

Zha Yingchuan, Zha Liangzheng's eldest son, recalled his father’s past events at the conference.“How time flies! In 1973 which is 45 years ago, my father bought an essay collection Hot Wind by Lun Xun at Balitai's Xinhua Bookstore and wrote down on the title page , Like an firefly, I will send a little light in the dark if there is any instead of  waiting for the torch... 45 years later, everyone is still commemorating him in the place where he had worked hard and lived and studying the poetry that he once devoted himself to, for which we feel very grateful as his descendants.

After the opening ceremony, the seminar with its theme A star shines in the sky discussed Mu Dan's translation art for foreign poetry, Mu Dan and modern Chinese poetry, the translation and interpretation of MuDan's poetry, translation and study of English and American poetry, translation and study of Russian poetry, the tradition and study of poetry translation at Nankai University.

It is known that in order to commemorate the centennial anniversary of Zha Liangzheng’s birth, the organizers of the conference also held a book exhibition on the works of Mr. Mu Dan in the Oriental Art Building of Nankai University and the College of Foreign Languages, which aims to demonstrate the poetry creation of Mr. Zha Liangzheng (Mu Dan) and his achievements in poetry translation. The second term of“Night of Nankai”-Zha Liangzheng (Mu Dan) poetry reading was also held on the evening of April the 5th at the College of Foreign Languages. More than 20 people from home and abroad read the poems and translations of Mu Dan. According to the College of Foreign Languages of NK, the college will publish two centurial commemorative annals of Mu Dan, one collecting the articles in memory of Mu Dan, and the other one collecting research on Mu Dan.