Crescent Moon Symposium

The Crescent Moon Symposium, University of California, Los Angeles, May 4, 2018.

The one-day Crescent Moon Symposium (May 4, 2018) explores the lives of philosopher Hu Shih 胡适 (1891-1962), poet Xu Zhimo 徐志摩 (1897-1931), scholar/Shakespearean Liang Shiqiu 梁实秋, writer/painter Ling Shuhua 凌淑华 (1900-1990), and their literary communities.  The quartet of bilingual intellectuals epitomized the vibrant East-West exchanges in the wake of the May Fourth movement. All four were members of the Crescent Moon Society 新月社, established by Xu Zhimo and Hu Shi and designed as a counterpart of the Bloomsbury Group of England. Three also happened to be prolific epistolary writers. A cosmopolitan friendly with Katherine Mansfield, Roger Fry, and Rabindranath Tagore, Xu was most famous for his Chinese poetry and love letters. Hu Shi corresponded with Bertrand Russell, Arthur Waley, and a number of American literary luminaries. Ling Shuhua corresponded with Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, and Julian Bell.

Two of the four keynote speakers are descendants of Xu Zhimo and Ling Shuhua, respectively: Tony S. Hsu 徐善曾, Xu Zhimo’s only grandson and author of Chasing the Modern 《志在摩登》(2017); Sasha Su-Ling Welland 魏淑凌 (U of Washington), grandniece of Ling Shuhua and author of A Thousand Miles of Dreams: The Journeys of Two Chinese Sisters (2007). The other two keynoters are Susan Chan Egan 陈毓贤, co-author of A Pragmatist and His Free Spirit: The Half-Century Romance of Hu Shi and Edith Clifford Williams (2009), and Michelle Yeh (UC Davis), author of Modern Chinese Poetry: Theory and Practice since 1917 (1991). The symposium will also feature a round table discussion of the Crescent Moon Society (a literary society named after a volume of prose poems by Rabindranath Tagore) and its Bloomsbury connection, and a literary salon with bilingual readings, songs, slides, and documentaries about Xu, Hu, and Ling. Round table participants include the four keynoters, Visiting scholar Liu Cong 刘聪 (Liang Shiqiu 梁实秋 scholar), and three UCLA faculty members (Michael Berry 白睿文, King-Kok Cheung 张敬珏, Louise Hornby). Admission is free and open to the community.

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