A Note about This Poem and Its Maker
A note on Shi Zhecun (1905- ) from THE
COLUMBIA ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN CHINESE LITERATURE says: Shi Zhicuns
fictional work departs in large measure from the main current of modern Chinese fiction in
that his material has little to do with the harsh realities of his time. He is not a
typical writer who, in the famous phrase of C.T. Hsia, is
obsessed with China. In One Evening in the Rainy Season he is
obsessed, to be sure, but with the nervous manifestations of the individual psyche
suffering from repressed sexuality or thwarted desire. For this he is often identified as
a decadent writer. He studied French literature in college and edited the
monthly Les Contemporains. He gave up creative writing for a university career after 1937.
Dr. Zuxin Ding, his translator, writes of The Arched
Bridge: According to Mr. Shi, The Arched Bridge was written in
1936 and was published in Xiandai Zashi (Journal of Modernism). Mr. Shi is one of the
earliest Modernists in China.
About The Arched Bridge the poet himself wrote: My
stories and poems were written in the years from 1928 to 1938. Written almost sixty years ago, they were outmoded. My poetry was
much influenced by Imagism, which was fashionable at the time.
The Arched Bridge was written in 1936.
I wrote it after I had had been rowing on the West Brook, which is three miles long,
nestling behind the hills of the West Lake. (personal letters to his translator)
About spelling and order-of-name: Dr. Ding suggests that the COLUMBIA ANTHOLOGY apparently uses the mainland China system
of spelling. In English, he himself prefers that his own name appear in the western order.