Vernacularization as Global and Local Experiences: The Huang–Lu Affair in Film and Literature

  • Qiliang He
Part of the Chinese Literature and Culture in the World book series (CLCW)


This chapter is devoted to studying the filmic and literary works about the love affair. Chinese filmmakers borrowed ideas and techniques from their Hollywood counterparts to represent Huang Huiru as a victimized adolescent girl in the precarious urban milieu. D. W. Griffith’s stereotype of an innocent girl’s falling prey to male desire empowered Chinese intellectuals to call for policing women’s aberrant behaviors. Novels about the elopement fall into the category of “social fiction,” whose writers were committed to exposing the darker side of society and assisting immigrants in drawing up a cognitive map of the labyrinthine cosmopolitan city. I argue that social fiction, structurally and thematically, instilled in its readers the notion that Shanghai was their community for everyday activities despite all sorts of perils and ills. Hence, social fiction writers shared a common ground with left-wing and modernist novelists to imagine the woman as a potential threat to the urban environment.


  1. A Ying. Wan Qing xiaoshuo shi (A History of Late Qing Novels). Shanghai: Shangwu yinshu guan, 1937.Google Scholar
  2. Banweng. “Guan Zhongguo yingpian ganyan” (Some Thoughts on Viewing Chinese Films). Dianying zazhi (Picture News) no. 7 (1924): n.pag.Google Scholar
  3. Bao Tianxiao. Chuanyinglou huiyi lu (A Memoir from Chuanyinglou). Taipei: Longwen chubanshe gufen youxian gongsi, 1990.Google Scholar
  4. Bӓrthlein, Thomas. “‘Mirrors of Transition:’ Conflicting Images of Society in Change from Popular Chinese Social Novels, 1908 to 1930.” Modern China 25, no. 2 (April 1999): 204–28.Google Scholar
  5. Bianzhe. “Women lianxi Huang Huiru nüshi (shang)” (We sympathize with Ms. Huang Huiru, Part I). Shenghuo 4, no. 3 (December 2, 1928): 24–26.Google Scholar
  6. Brantlinger, Patrick. The Reading Lesson: The Threat of Mass Literacy in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.Google Scholar
  7. Cheng Bugao. Yingtan yijiu (Recollecting the Past in the Movie Circle). Beijing: Zhongguo dianying chubanshe, 1983.Google Scholar
  8. Chiping. “Xuelei huanghua benshi” (The Story of Tears and Flowers II). Dianying yuebao no. 12 (September 15, 1929): 1–3.Google Scholar
  9. Chow, Rey. Woman and Chinese Modernity: The Politics of Reading Between West and East. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991.Google Scholar
  10. Des Forges, Alexander. Mediasphere Shanghai: The Aesthetics of Cultural Production. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2007.Google Scholar
  11. Dianying jiancha weiyuanhui gongbao (Bulletin of Committee of Film Censorship). 1, no. 1 (August 1932).Google Scholar
  12. “Dianying xinwen” (News about Films). Xinwen bao, January 19, 1929.Google Scholar
  13. Fan Boqun. Tongsu mengzhu Bao Tianxiao (Bao Tianxiao: The Leader of Popular [Fiction]). Taipei: Yeqiang chubanshe, 1993.Google Scholar
  14. Frisby, David. Cityscapes of Modernity: Critical Explorations. Cambridge; Malden, MA: Polity Press in association with Blackwell, 2001.Google Scholar
  15. Gong Jianong. Gong Jianong congying huiyi lu (Memoir of Gong Jianong). Taipei: Wenxing shudian gufen youxian gongsi (Book World Co., Ltd.), 1967.Google Scholar
  16. Gongsun Lu. Zhongguo dianying shihua (shang) (The Story of Chinese Films, Part I). Hong Kong: Nantian shuye gongsi, 1962.Google Scholar
  17. Gu Songxian. “Guan Heping she Jiang Hongying laowu xunqing ji” (Watching Suicide for Love of Jiang Hongying, the Number Five, by Heping Society). Xin shijie, June 6, 1920.Google Scholar
  18. Haishang shuomeng ren. Xiepu chao (The Huangpu Tides). Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1991.Google Scholar
  19. Hanan, Patrick. The Chinese Vernacular Story. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981.Google Scholar
  20. Hansen, Miriam Bratu. “The Mass Production of the Senses: Classical Cinema as Vernacular Modernism.” Modernism/Modernity 6, no. 2 (1999): 59–77.Google Scholar
  21. ———. “Fallen Women, Rising Stars, New Horizons: Shanghai Silent Film as Vernacular Modernism.” Film Quarterly 54, no. 1 (Autumn 2000): 10–22.Google Scholar
  22. Higashi, Sumiko. Virgin, Vamps, and Flappers: The American Silent Movie Heroines. St. Albans, VT: Eden Press Women’s Publications, 1978.Google Scholar
  23. Hu Die. Hu Die huiyi lu (Memoir of Hu Die). Taipei: Lianjing chuban shiye gongsi, 1986.Google Scholar
  24. “Hu Die nüshi linian zhuyan gepian zhi yimu” (A Snapshot of All Films Starring Ms. Hu Die). Yingtan no. 4 (1935): n.pag.Google Scholar
  25. Hu Shanyuan. Wentan guankui—he wo youguo wanglai de wenren (A Narrow View of the Literary Circle: Men of Letters with Whom I Came into Contact). Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 2000.Google Scholar
  26. Huang, Nicole. Women, War, Domesticity: Shanghai Literature and Popular Culture of the 1940s. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2005.Google Scholar
  27. ICU. “Ji Lilin Ganxu nüshi” (Account of Ms. Lillian Gish). Dianying zazhi 1, no. 3 (July 1924): yin 1–yin 2.Google Scholar
  28. Jiangsu sheng zhengxie wenshi ziliao weiyuanhui and Changzhou shi zhengxie wenshi ziliao wenyuanhui. Changzhou mingren zhuanji (A Biography of Changzhou Celebrities). Nanjing: Jiangsu wenshi ziliao bianji bu, 1998.Google Scholar
  29. Jigong. “Hubu susi” (Why Didn’t Die Sooner). Jingangzuan, March 27, 1929.Google Scholar
  30. Kaizhi. “Tan yu suoguan you Lilin Ganxu zhi yingju” (On Films Starring Lillian Gish That I Have Watched). Yingxi shijie (Motion Picture World) no. 1 (June 1, 1925): 23.Google Scholar
  31. Laihun kaiyan” (Way Down East Began to be Shown). Shuntian shibao, January 19, 1923.Google Scholar
  32. Lee, Leo Ou-fan. Shanghai Modern: The Flowering of a New Urban Culture in China, 1930–1945. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  33. Lei Zhusheng. Haishang huo diyu (Living Hell in Shanghai). Shenyang: Chunfeng wenyi chubanshe, 1997.Google Scholar
  34. Li Daoxin. Zhongguo dianying de shixue jiangou (The Historical Construction of Chinese Films). Beijing: Zhongguo guangbo dianshi chubanshe, 2004.Google Scholar
  35. Lin, Shuen-fu. “Ritual and Narrative Structure in Ju-lin Waishi.” In Chinese Narrative: Critical and Theoretical Essays, ed. Andrew H. Plaks, 244–65. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  36. Link, Perry E. Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies: Popular Fiction in Early Twentieth-Century Chinese Cities. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981.Google Scholar
  37. ———. “An Interview with Pao T’ien-hsiao.” In Chinese Middlebrow Fiction: From the Ch’ing and Early Republican Eras, ed. Ts’un-yan Liu, 241–53. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1984.Google Scholar
  38. Liu Henwo. “Guanying guiyu” (Remarks After Returning from a Movie Show). Shen bao, August 2, 1924.Google Scholar
  39. Lu Hongshi. Zhongguo dianying shi 1905–1949: zaoqi Zhongguo dianying de xushu yu jiyi (A History of Chinese Cinema 1905–1949: Narratives and Memories About Early Chinese Films). Beijing: Wenhua yishu chubanshe, 2005.Google Scholar
  40. Lu Xun. Zhongguo xiaoshuo shilue (A Brief History of Chinese Fiction). Beijing: Tuanjie chubanshe, 2005.Google Scholar
  41. Mao Dun. Wo zouguo de daolu (zhongce) (The Road I Have Taken, Part II). Hong Kong: Shenghuo dushu xinzhi sanlian shudian, 1984.Google Scholar
  42. May, Lary. Screening Out the Past: The Birth of Mass Culture and the Motion Picture Industry. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980.Google Scholar
  43. Men Yan. “Cong Ziye shuoqi” (Speaking from Midnight). In Mao Dun yanjiu lunji (Collection of Researches on Mao Dun), ed. Zhuang Zhongqing, 163–75. Tianjin: Tianjin renmin chubanshe, 1984.Google Scholar
  44. “Mingxing she ‘Xuelei huanghua’ ji ‘Xu Huang Lu zhi’ai’” (Mingxing Shoots “Tears and Flowers II,” Namely, the Sequel to “Tears and Flowers”). Dianying yuebao no. 10 (May 15, 1929): 5.Google Scholar
  45. Mu Lan. Minguo yinghou: Hu Die (He Die, Queen of Film in Republican China). Beijing: Mingzhu yu jianshe chubanshe, 2012.Google Scholar
  46. Pan Yihua. “Jinnian dianying guanzhong zhi quxiang” (The Recent Trend of Film Viewers). Dianying zazhi (Picture News) 1, no. 1 (May 1924), 32.Google Scholar
  47. Pickowicz, Paul G. “Melodramatic Representation and the ‘May Fourth’ Tradition of Chinese Cinema.” In From May Fourth to June Fourth: Fiction and Film in Twentieth-Century China, ed. Ellen Widmer and David Der-wei Wang, 295–326. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993.Google Scholar
  48. Prendergast, Christopher. Paris and the Nineteenth Century. Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1992.Google Scholar
  49. Qian Shengke. Shanghai heimu congbian (The Collection of Black Screens in Shanghai). Shanghai: Shanghai zhentan yanjiu hui, 1929.Google Scholar
  50. Qian Xuantong, and Song Yunbin. “‘Heimu’ shu” (“Black-Screen” Fiction). In Yuanyang hudie pai wenxue ziliao (Materials of the School of Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies), 823–24. Fuzhou: Fujian renmin chubanshe, 1984.Google Scholar
  51. Rosenmeier, Christopher. “Women Stereotypes in Shi Zhecun’s Short Stories.” Modern China 37, no. 1 (January 2011): 44–68.Google Scholar
  52. Sansan. “Yu Naishen tan Gelifeishi zhi qipian (xu)” (Discussing Seven Films by Griffith with Naishen, Part II). Dianying zazhi (Picture News) 1, no. 1 (May 1924): geng 1.Google Scholar
  53. Shen Yanbing. “Fengjian de xiao shimin wenyi” (The Feudal Literature and Arts for Petty Urbanites). In Yuanyang hudie pai wenxue ziliao (Materials of the School of Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies), 25–28. Fuzhou: Fujian renmin chubanshe, 1984.Google Scholar
  54. Shi Zhecun. Hudie furen (Lady Butterfly). Beijing: Jinghua chubanshe, 2006.Google Scholar
  55. Shih, Shu-mei. The Lure of the Modern: Writing Modernism in Semicolonial China, 1917–1937. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.Google Scholar
  56. Shouying. “Xinchu jiapian Huang Lu zhi’ai zhi yimu Hu Die shi Huang Huiru” (An Episode from the Newest Great Film, Tears and Flowers I—Hu Die Portraying Huang Huiru). Daya huabao, September 13, 1929.Google Scholar
  57. Simmel, Georg. The Sociology of Georg Simmel. Trans., ed. and with an Introduction by Kurt H. Wolff. Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1950.Google Scholar
  58. Stevens, Sarah E. “Figuring Modernity: The New Woman and the Modern Girl in Republican China.” NWSA Journal 15, no. 3, Gender and Modernism between the Wars, 1918–1939 (Autumn 2003): 82–103.Google Scholar
  59. Suoposheng and Bao Tianxiao. Renjian diyu (Hell in This World). Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1991.Google Scholar
  60. Tang Wenhai. “Huang Huiru, Lu Genrong zai Suzhou” (Huang Huiru, Lu Genrong in Suzhou). Suzhou zazhi no. 6 (1999): 75–76.Google Scholar
  61. Taofen. “Yihou shuiqu Huang nüshi de bianshi Hero” (Whoever Marries Ms. Huang in the Future Will Be the Hero). Shenghuo 5, no. 5 (December 16, 1928): 41.Google Scholar
  62. Tianyi yingpian gongsi bianji bu. Meng Jiangnü. Shanghai: Tianyi yingpian gongsi faxing bu, 1926.Google Scholar
  63. Wang, David Der-wei. Fin-de-siècle Splendor: Repressed Modernities of Late Qing Fiction, 1849–1911. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  64. Wei Shaochang. Xiwen luogu (Drama, Literature, Gong, and Drum). Zhengzhou: Daxiang chubanshe, 1997.Google Scholar
  65. Wu Yonggang. Wode tansuo he zhuiqiu (My Exploration and Pursuit). Beijing: Zhongguo dianying chubanshe, 1986.Google Scholar
  66. Xu Banmei. Huaju chuangshi qi huiyilu (A Memoir of the Founding Years of Spoken Drama). Beijing: Zhongguo xiju chubanshe, 1957.Google Scholar
  67. Xu Chihen. Zhongguo yingxi daguan (Filmdom in China). Shanghai: Shanghai hezuo chubanshe, 1927.Google Scholar
  68. “Xuelei huanghua” (Tears and Flowers II). Dianying yuebao, nos. 11–12 (1929): 23.Google Scholar
  69. Yang Yizeng. “Duiyu jiaoyubu tongsu jiaoyu yanjiuhui quangao wuzai bian heimu xiaoshuo zhi yijian” (Opinion on the Note Issued by the Society of Studying Popular Education of Ministry of Education Regarding No Longer Compiling Black-Screen Novels). In Yuanyang hudie pai wenxue ziliao (Materials of the School of Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies), 162–63. Fuzhou: Fujian renmin chubanshe, 1984.Google Scholar
  70. Yeh, Catherine Vance. Shanghai Love: Courtesans, Intellectuals, and Entertainment Culture, 1850–1910. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2006.Google Scholar
  71. Yu Kun and Xu Yi. “Misi Gaixu” (Miss Gish). Yingxi zazhi (The Motion Picture Review) 1, no. 3 (May 1922): 14; 50.Google Scholar
  72. Yuan Jin. Yuanyang hudie pai (The School of Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies). Shanghai: Shanghai shudian, 1994.Google Scholar
  73. Yuan Qingfeng. Heibai jiaopian de wenhua shitai (The Cultural Tense of Black and White Film). Shanghai: Shanghai sanlian chubanshe, 2009.Google Scholar
  74. Zhang Ailing. Zhangkan (Zhang’s View). Taipei: Huangguan chubanshe, 1978.Google Scholar
  75. Zhang, Yingjin. The City in Modern Chinese Literature and Film: Configurations of Space, Time, and Gender. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996.Google Scholar
  76. ———. “Yuedu zaoqi dianying lilun: Jiti ganguan jizhi yu baihua xiandai zhuyi” (Reading Early Film Theory: Collective Sensorium and Vernacular Modernism in Chinese Cinema). Dangdai dianying (Contemporary Cinema) no. 1 (2005): 29–34.Google Scholar
  77. Zhang, Zhen. Amorous History of the Silver Screen: Shanghai Cinema, 1896–1937. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.Google Scholar
  78. ———. “Transplanting Melodrama: Observations on the Emergence of Early Chinese Narrative Film.” In A Companion to Chinese Cinema, ed. Yingjin Zhang, 25–41. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.Google Scholar
  79. Zhao Shihui. Yingtan gouchen (Rediscovering the Past of Film Circle). Zhengzhou: Daxiang chubanshe, 1998.Google Scholar
  80. Zheng Yuguang. “Huang Mandao yu Lu Genrong” (Huang Mandao and Lu Genrong). Fujian tushuguan xuekan no. 3 (2002): 64–65.Google Scholar
  81. Zhixi. “Jinri zhongguo zhi xiaoshuo jie” (The Circle of Novelists in Today’s China). In Yuanyang hudie pai wenxue ziliao (Materials of the School of Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies), 715–19. Fuzhou: Fujian renmin chubanshe, 1984.Google Scholar
  82. Zhou Shoujuan. Laihun (Way Down East). Shanghai: Dadong shuju, 1926.Google Scholar
  83. Zhu Demo. Zuojia Ma Ning chuanqi (The Legend of the Writer Ma Ning). Fuzhou: Fujian jiaoyu chubanshe, 1989.Google Scholar
  84. Zuiyan. “Yulun kao … zhu” (Public Opinion Is … [Un]reliable). Jingangzuan, December 20, 1928.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qiliang He
    • 1
  1. 1.Illinois State UniversityNormalUSA

Personalised recommendations