The first edition of Mao Zedong’s autobiography in 1937
Has Mao Zedong ever written an autobiography? For most readers, this is indeed a question mark. In april2001, a news shocked the publishing world: “Xi’an surprised the Autobiography of Mao Zedong 64 years ago.”.
This autobiography of Mao Zedong, published in 1937 and preserved for more than half a century, is the collection of a collector in Shaanxi. It is a 90 page thin booklet with about 40000 words and more than 10 photos. The red cover has been damaged, with Mao Zedong’s profile portrait printed on the upper left. The title of the book “Mao Zedong’s autobiography” is inscribed in calligraphy, with the words “pan Hannian title” written in calligraphy. At the lower left is the printed signature “Shi Nuo (i.e. Si Nuo, the author’s note) recorded, translated by Wang Heng”. At the lower right is the printed “digest series · Liming bookstore for sale”. The page has turned yellow. The front page is printed with the words “annex – Mao Zedong’s theory on the Sino Japanese War, biography of his wife hezizhen. 1937, 11, 1. first edition; 1937, 11, 20. reprint”. The collector’s collection is the reprint of November 20. (later, the first edition of the book appeared. The difference lies in the publishing time. The front page only printed “1937, 11, 1.”
Title page of Mao Zedong’s autobiography, first edition, 1937
The Autobiography of Mao Zedong is dictated in the first person and consists of four chapters: the childhood of a red star, growing up in turmoil, opening the first page of red history, heroism, loyalty and superhuman endurance. When reading, the reader seems to be listening to an elder telling his own story face to face. Even if it is a special experience and suffering, it becomes as calm as water in its narration, making the reader feel authentic, sincere and natural.
This book is Mao Zedong’s dictation of his growth and fighting experience from 1893 to 1936 to edgarsnow, an American journalist, in October 1936. Its content is basically the same as that of the fourth chapter “the origin of a Communist Party member” in “a journey to the west”. However, through expert research, the Chinese version of Mao Zedong’s autobiography was first published in digest in August 1937, and a separate edition was published on November 1. In February of 1938, the book was translated and published by Shanghai Fu She. That is to say, the publication of Mao Zedong’s autobiography was earlier than the publication of a journey to the West.
In July, 1936, Edgar Snow finally arrived in Northern Shaanxi after twists and turns. He was the first Western journalist to come to Shaanxi Gansu Ningxia revolutionary base to interview. On the second day, he was received by Mao Zedong. Mao Zedong welcomed him and actively cooperated in the interview. Snow’s initial interview topics were mainly about the Northern Shaanxi Soviet Area, the Red Army and the situation of the Anti Japanese war. But in fact, snow was more interested in Mao Zedong’s own life experience and wanted to “write a book alone” to record the legendary experience of this great man. Therefore, snowrow listed a series of questions about Mao Zedong’s personal experience for him to answer, but found that Mao Zedong seemed not interested in it and did not seem to believe that it was necessary to provide autobiography. Snow once recalled: “for several days in a row, we seemed to be playing hide and seek. I felt that he was judging whether he could tell me his true feelings and whether I would abuse his trust to distort or misrepresent his words.” Snow tried to convince Mao Zedong, and told him that to a certain extent, this was more important than the information provided on other issues. Everyone will know what kind of person you are after reading what you said. Besides, you should also correct some popular rumors, which is conducive to the establishment of the Anti Japanese national united front. Mao Zedong suggested that snow go to the front line of the Anti Japanese War to interview him first.
Mao Zedong and Edgar Snow
Afterwards, snow came to the front line as suggested by Mao Zedong. After returning from the interview, one night, after answering all snow’s other questions, Mao Zedong turned to his list of questions about “personal history”.
Mao Zedong proposed to snow that he could put aside the order of the list of questions and tell him his experience in general. In this way, for the first time in more than ten consecutive nights, Mao Zedong told a foreign reporter his life story. During the interview, snow recorded and sorted out the content of Mao Zedong’s story according to the interpretation of WuLiping, an English translator. Huang Hua was asked to translate it into Chinese and submit it to Mao Zedong for review. “Mao definitely requires that any article program be detailed and accurate.”
In November, 1936, snow returned to Peiping. He originally wanted his wife Helen, who was also a reporter, to abridge and compress Mao Zedong’s biographical materials and write them into his interview notes in the third person. However, Helen strongly objected. She believed that snow’s first-hand interview records had found a true Mao Zedong for China and the world. This “autobiography” is a classic and priceless treasure. It should be described in the first person, quoted word for word, presented in the original and without any change.
Snow soon wrote and completed some of his interviews with Northern Shaanxi and sent them to different English media in China and the United States. Among them, the dialogue on the situation of the war of resistance against Japan was published in the Miller review in Shanghai, and the part about Mao Zedong’s life story was sent to the American monthly Asia, that is, the monthly Asia. In June, 1937, Asia monthly published a full page advertisement for the forthcoming serial Autobiography of Mao Zedong. From July to October, the magazine published Snow’s interview manuscript in four issues in four chapters, with a subtitle under the title of each chapter: Mao Zedong’s autobiography.
In july1937, the American monthly Asia (Asia) published the first English version of Mao Zedong’s autobiography.
Seeing the English version of Mao Zedong’s autobiography, sun Hanbing, the editor in chief of Digest magazine of Fudan University in Shanghai, immediately found his student and colleague Wang Heng to translate. In this way, digest published Mao Zedong’s autobiography at a later stage than Asia. The second issue of Volume 2 of abstract, published on August 1st, 1937, was published for the first time. At that time, in the white terror environment, in order to hide, this important article was not listed in the title of the cover, but in the lower left corner of the column “various characters”, published in the form of “special translation”, and the translator signed Wang Heng’s pseudonym “Wu Guang”. Since the all-round war of resistance against Japan had already broken out at that time, Digest magazine changed its name from Volume 2, issue 3, to digest wartime xunyan, and continued to serialize the rest of Mao Zedong’s autobiography, which was published seven times.
In August, 1937, Shanghai Digest magazine launched the Autobiography of Mao Zedong translated by Wang Heng.
After the publication of the digest, Mao Zedong’s autobiography caused a sensation throughout the country. On November 1, the article was still in the process of serialization, and liming publishing company published a single edition in the form of “digest series”, An advertisement was published on the back cover of the fifth issue of the ten day digest of the war: “this book is a faithful record of Mr. Mao Zedong’s personal oral life stories to the famous American journalist Arnold snow. It is an important document in the history of the Chinese revolution. The original text was first published in four issues in the Journal Asia, and translated by this press into the ten day digest of the war.” It has attracted great attention of readers. The book has 40000 words and dozens of precious pictures, with Mao Zedong on the Sino Japanese War and the biography of his wife hezizhen. Each volume is sold for 20 cents in foreign countries, plus 2 cents in foreign countries. “
When Mao Zedong’s autobiography was published, it was obstructed by the Kuomintang reactionaries. Sun Hanbing ran around and got the strong support of panhannian, director of the Eighth Route Army’s Shanghai office, before it was published. Panhannian also gladly inscribed the title of the book. The book sold out soon after it was published. It was republished 19 days later and sent to 15 sub distribution offices in Peiping, Nanjing, Kaifeng, Anqing, Chengdu and other major book stores in China. The two editions have been issued with a total of about 600000 copies. It is only after reading this book that many people understand Mao Zedong and the truth of the Chinese revolution led by the Communist Party of China.
Attached to the book is a picture of Mao Zedong standing in the farmyard with a hen foraging behind him, which is very life like. The photographer of this photo is Mr. Tian Yiming, a famous industrialist in Hong Kong. In his youth, Tian Yiming joined the 17th Route Army of General Yang Hucheng. After the “Xi’an Incident”, he was appointed by the national government of Shaanxi Province to deal with the aftermath of the incident in Yan’an. He was very lucky to be received by Mao Zedong. That day, he took his camera to Mao Zedong’s residence. At the end of the conversation, tianyiming proposed to take a picture of Chairman Mao, and Mao Zedong generously agreed. When they came to the yard, the light was very good, and Mao Zedong stood in the middle of the yard with great cooperation. That camera is a German Agfa. It needs to be changed one by one when changing the film. Just when Tian Yiming adjusted the light and was ready to press the shutter, a hen broke into the lens. In this way, a leader image full of “life flavor” was fixed on the film of history.
Mao Zedong was in Baoan in 1937 (photographed by Tian Yiming)
In October, 1937, the British golantz company first published the Northern Shaanxi interview “red star shines on China” written by snow. In February, 1938, the book was translated and published in Chinese by Shanghai Fu She. The title of the book was covertly changed to a journey to the West. In a sense, the Autobiography of Mao Zedong, which came out earlier than the journey to the west, has a more direct and powerful influence.
There is no doubt that, as an extremely valuable and important document in the history of Chinese revolution, the Autobiography of Mao Zedong has unprecedented influence. Over the past few decades, various editions have been published. After textual research by experts, the Autobiography of Mao Zedong has been found and well preserved in more than 50 editions, not including reprints, reprints and stolen editions. This legendary biography of leaders has influenced generations of people to devote themselves to the Chinese revolution.
In 1993, the people’s Publishing House published Mao Zedong’s autobiography, which aroused repercussions. The book not only contains the actual records of snow’s interviews with Mao Zedong in 1936, but also extracts and compiles the records of snow’s several interviews with Mao Zedong in 1939, 1960 and 1970. The content is richer and the influence is broader.
The cover of Mao Zedong’s autobiography published by the people’s Publishing House in 1993
In 2001, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the party and the 25th anniversary of Mao Zedong’s death, the editors of the people’s Liberation Army Literature and Art Publishing House re edited and published Mao Zedong’s autobiography after collating, revising and annotating the original version of Mao Zedong’s autobiography in 1937. The cover was the photo of Mao Zedong in the farmyard. On september9,2001, the book’s launching ceremony and the book presentation ceremony to Mao Zedong’s relatives and staff were held in Beijing Xidan Book Building. Mao Zedong’s grandson Mao Xinyu was present to sign for sale. The enthusiasm of readers exceeded the expectations of the publisher. 100000 copies of the first edition were sold out, and 100000 copies of the second edition were printed. Nearly a thousand newspapers across the country reported the publication news, and dozens of newspapers contacted to reprint it. In the list of books, the book ranked first in a row.
The cover of Mao Zedong’s autobiography published by the PLA literature and Art Publishing House in 2001
In january2009, China Youth Publishing House reprinted Mao Zedong’s autobiography, a “Chinese English illustrated photocopy Collection Edition”, which not only contained the contents and appendices of the original book in simplified Chinese, but also included the photocopy of the original edition of Asia in 1937, the photocopy of the original edition of abstract and the first edition of Liming book company, presenting the original version of this legendary biography completely, with high historical data, edition and collection value.
Autobiography of Mao Zedong published by China Youth Publishing House in 2009
Picture provided for the author
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