Guys and Gals --
The long-awaited for Lu Xun biography has been completed! Well, the translation is still in draft form, and I'm doing a bunch of editing on it now. However, the editing is going painfully slow, at 45 min/page (and the whole thing is 16 pages long before additional notes etc). So I would like your opinion on whether this is useful, or whether I should quit and get some sleep. Basically, here are the two new features of the new translation (in addition to the text being proofread
Inclusion of the Chinese characters for names of people and places, as well as names of official positions.
Explanation of culture and historical terms whose meaning cannot be deduced from the text. (This is given in roman numerals, to differentiate it from Pei Songzhi's notes.)
This is the first 5 pages:
Lu Xun (陸遜), styled Boyan (伯言), was originally named Yi (議). A native of Wu (吳), in the commandery of Wu (吳), Lu Xun comes from a prosperous and famous family east of the Yangtze River(1). Since he was orphaned at a young age, he lived with his grandfather Lu Kang (陸康), who was then the grand administrator of Lujiang (廬江). When Lu Kang found out that he was about to be attacked by Yuan Shu (袁術), who had long borne a grudge against him, he sent Lu Xun and his own family back to Wu for safety. Since Lu Xun was several years older than Lu Kang’s son Lu Ji (陸績), he kept his family in order for him.
(1) Lushi Shi Song: Lu Xun’s grandfather, Lu Yu (陸紆), had the style name of Shupen (叔盆). He was a virtuous man, quick in wits, and served as a Colonel of the City Gates. Lu Xun’s father, Lu Jun (陸駿), who had the style name of Jicai (季才), was magnanimous and trustworthy, greatly loved by the different families in the clan. The highest rank he held was Chief Commandant of Jiujiang (九江).
When Sun Quan (孫權) was made a general, Lu Xun was twenty-one years of age, and began his career by working in Sun Quan’s office. After serving as a consultant clerk of both the Department of the East and the Department of the West (i), he was sent out to the field as chief commandant (都衛) at Haichang (海昌) garrison, in care of the civil affairs of the prefecture as well(2). The prefecture had suffered years of drought, and so Lu Xun opened up the stores of grain to relieve the poor, as well as personally encouraging and overseeing farming. The people benefitted greatly from his governing. At that time, there were many outlaws taking refuge in the Wu, Kuaiji (會稽), and Danyang (丹陽) areas. Lu Xun petitioned to Sun Quan to attack them, listing the advantages of doing so. Now, there was one Pan Lin (潘臨), the “general-in-chief” of the bandits in Kuaiji, who had been a scourge of the area, and who had evaded arrest through the years. And so Lu Xun took the soldiers in his command and went straight into the holdings of the outlaws. Wherever he went the outlaws submitted to him, and his command grew to 2,000 soldiers. Then, when the leader of the Poyang (鄱陽) bandits, You Tu (尤突), staged a rebellion, Lu Xun went to quell it. For that, Lu Xun was made Colonel Who Settles Majesty (定威校尉) , and made to garrison at Lipu (利浦).
(i) Departments under the jurisdiction of a general.
(2) From the Eulogy of the Portraits in the Lu Ancestral Temple: Haichang is located in the current day prefecture of Yan’guan (鹽官).
Sun Quan gave Sun Ce's (孫策) daughter’s hand in marriage to Lu Xun, and often sought his advice on various affairs of the realm. Lu Xun suggested, "At present, the conquerers have each taken a portion of the land and fortified their stands. They wait and watch like wolves; and thus, in order to defeat the enemies and bring peace to the land, we need many people to assist us. However, the Shanyue (山越) bandits are still at large, owing to their geographically strategic hideouts. If we do not pacify them, it would be difficult for any other long term conquests to go far. Thus, we should lead an army to pacify them and in the process, recruit the best forces amongst them to join us." Sun Quan accepted his proposal and appointed him as Company Commander of the Right Guard (i). Around that time, Fei Zhan (費棧), the leader of the bandits at Danyang, was given seal and cord of office (ii) by Cao Cao, rallied the Shanyue people to coordinate an attack with him. Lu Xun was then sent by Sun Quan to annihilate Fei Zhan. Seeing that Fei Zhan had a greater army than himself, Lu Xun had a great number of flags made, and sent drummers and buglers to various strategic points. Concealed by the darkness of night they slipped all around the hills and valleys, and all of a sudden revealed themselves in great fanfare and charged towards the enemy. The enemy troops dispersed instantly. Lu Xun thus stationed his men at the three eastern counties (iii), drafting the able-bodied to be soldiers, and sending the weaker ones to manage agricultural lands. In the process, some ten thousand elite soldiers were added to the ranks and the remnants of the bandits were destroyed. Where Lu Xun’s army passed by, bandits were cleared out, and eventually Lu Xun returned to the fort at Wu Lake (蕪湖).
(i) A personal guard force, established by Wu.
(ii) The seal and cord are the official . Cao was bribing insubordinate factions in Wu land holdings to create trouble for the Sun family.
(iii) Danyang, Xindu (新都), and Kuaiji. The mountainous terrain in these commanderies were inhabited by the Shanyue.
Chunyu Shi (淳于式), the grand administrator of Kuaiji, reported to Sun Quan that Lu Xun enlisted commoners unnecessarily, disturbing the peace of the area. Later on, Lu Xun reported back to the capital, and in a conversation [with Sun Quan], praised Chunyu Shi for being an excellent official. Sun Quan said, "Chunyu Shi had set accusations against you, but yet you praise him. Why is this so?"
Lu Xun replied, "Chunyu Shi's mind is on taking care of his people, and that was why he criticized me. It would not do if I, in turn, denounce him in order to seek your approval."
Sun Quan said, "You have indeed the conduct of a trustworthy person! Not all could do what you have done."
When Lü Meng (呂蒙) was on sick leave and about to leave for Jianye (建業), Lu Xun went to pay him a visit. "Guan Yu (關羽) is stationed close to the borders," said Lu Xun, "should we devise a long-term plan, to reduce this threat?"
"What you said is right," replied Lü Meng, "but I'm gravely ill now."
Lu Xun said, "Guan Yu, proud of his own valour, is disdainful towards others. He has just accomplished something great, and now he has become overly arrogant, seeking only to strike northward. Since he hasn't suspected much activity from our side, once he hears of your illness, his defences will certainly drop. So if we can take him by surprise, he is certain to be captured. It would be best if you could have an audience with the lord and devise a plan."
"Guan Yu's known for his military prowess," said Lü Meng, "and has been a difficult enemy. Now that he's in charge of Jing Province (荊州), he has been benevolent towards the people. Furthermore, morale is high on his side due to his recent victories. It may not be so easy to defeat him."
Lü Meng thus came to the capital city. Sun Quan asked him, "Who would you recommend to replace you?" Lü Meng answered, "Lu Xun has far-reaching plans, and is able to take up great responsibility. Looking at his way of thinking, I think he would be the one capable for the great task at hand. Also, since his name is not well-known yet, Guan Yu would not be wary of him. Thing cannot be better! If he is employed, those from without will not see what we are up to, while we, from within, can seek an opportune time to strike and to defeat [Guan Yu]." And thus Sun Quan summoned Lu Xun, and made him replace Lü Meng as Lieutenant-General, Inspector of the Right Division (偏將軍右都督).
Once Lu Xun arrived at Lukou (陸口), he wrote to Guan Yu thus,
“Short time ago I had the good fortune to witness your feats at battle: leading your army with discipline, you accomplished great victory with the least effort. How awesome and admirable that was!
Now that our common enemy is defeated, it is a time most meet for us to build an alliance. Having heard of your good news, I turn my mind to the command that has been entrusted to me, thinking always to follow your footsteps in conquest, and to fulfill the ambitions of our lords together.
Recently, unworthy though I am, I have been ordered to take up a post here in the west. I long to see even a speck of your glory, and to have your good counsel to bear in my mind.”
And he wrote on:
“Since Yu Jin (于禁) and company were captured, everyone near and far proclaimed your name in praise. Not even the leadership of Duke Wen of Jin (晉文公) of yore, shown at Chengpu (城濮) (i) -- nor even the strategies demonstrated by Lord Huaiyin (淮陰) at Zhao (趙) (ii) -- can match what you have done.
I have heard that Xu Huang (徐晃) and his remaining mounted troops are stationed nearby, poised to strike. Though their number is few, Cao Cao (曹操) is a cunning scoundrel, and there is no knowing what he would do in his wrath -- I would be afraid that he will secretly increase the troops there, in order to carry out his malicious plans. It is true that their army is fatigued, but they still have might in them. Furthermore, after a victory in battle, one is in danger of underestimating the enemy. The ancients who were skilled at warfare heightened their defences even in the sight of a victory. Thus, I pray that you, O General, will plan far ahead, and ensure that your victory be complete.
I am but a student of the letters, unlearned, dull, unworthy in all regards. And thus I am overjoyed to have such a majestic and virtuous neighbour! My joy is indeed overflowing. Even though we have not had the chance to cooperate yet, I keep you in my thoughts. And so I dared to write thus to you, hoping that you will understand what is on my mind."
(i) During the Spring and Autumn era, Duke Wen of Jin scored a huge victory over the forces of Chu (楚) at Chengpu city.
(ii) Lord Huaiyin was Han Xin (韓信). Once, while at war with the Zhao state, he chose 2000 choice horsemen, and had them hide in the hills. Once the main forces got engaged in battle with the enemy, he told them, they were to ride straight into the Zhao camps, and replace the Zhao banners with their own Han banners. With this strategy, Han Xin defeated the Zhao troops and annexed the lands of the Zhao state.
After Guan Yu had read Lu Xun's letter, he perceived not just a tone of respect and humility in the letter, but also a desire to depend on him. Thus he felt greatly at ease and unthreatened. Upon hearing this, Lu Xun reported the matter [to Sun Quan], listing the crucial details for the capture of Guan Yu. Sun Quan secretly led his armies up the River and commanded Lu Xun and Lü Meng as vanguards. Soon after their arrival, Gong’an (公安) and Nanjun (南郡) fell. Lu Xun proceeded, after being made designated Governor of Yidu (宜都) and given the rank of Lieutenant-general Who Pacifies the Borders (撫遠將軍) and the noble title of Marquis of Huating (華亭侯). Meanwhile, Liu Bei's own Governor of Yidu, Fan You (樊友), abandoned the commandery, and most of the city commanders and the chiefs of the tribal peoples all surrendered. Lu Xun requested for golden, silver and bronze seals to be made and temporarily bestowed on the newly surrendered. This event took place during the 24th year of Jian An during the eleventh month (i).
(i) This happened on the 7th day of the 11th month of the 24th year of the Jian’an reign – New Year’s Day of AD 220 by western reckoning.
Lu Xun sent generals Li Yi (李異) and Xie Jing (謝旌) with some three thousand troops to attack Shu generals Zhan Yan (詹晏) and Chen Feng (陳鳳). Li Yi led the naval troops while Xie Sheng led the land troops. They cut off the main road at the mountainous area leading to the city and defeated Zhan and Chen. Chen Feng was captured alive and he surrendered. After that, the troops (of Wu) continued on to attack Deng Fu (鄧輔), Governor of Fangling (房陵), and Guo Mu (郭睦), Governor of Nanxiang (南鄉); the attackers scored a decisive victory. Wen Bu (文布) and Deng Kai (鄧凱), both of prominent families in Zigui (秭歸), gathered a several thousand men army made up of minority populations and led them to join the ranks of Shu. Lu Xun regrouped his army and ordered Xie Sheng to quell Wen Bu and Deng Kai. Both Wen and Deng escaped and they became officials in Shu. Lu Xun sent someone to coax them to return, and Wen Bu led his men back to surrender. During the entire progress of capturing, recruiting and executing people, there were some ten thousand cases involved. Sun Quan then appointed Lu Xun as Right Commissioner of the Army (右護軍), General Who Subdues the West (鎮西將軍) and further gave him the noble rank of Marquis of Lou (婁侯)1.
(1) In Book of Wu: Sun Quan was pleased with Lu Xun’s achievements, and wanted to award him especially. Though Lu Xun was a high-ranked general and a marquis already, he had yet to go through the regular process of advancement in his home province. Thus, Sun Quan had the governor of Yangzhou (揚州), Lü Fan (呂範), to officially install him as an Aide-de-Camp (別駕從事) and recommend him as a Flourishing Talent (茂才) (i).
(i) During the Han, the normal route to officialdom is to be first recommended as a “Filial and Incorrupt” or a “Flourishing Talent” by the local administration. Of the two, Flourishing Talent is the more prestigious title. Since Lu Xun started off as a clerk in Sun Quan’s field office, what Sun Quan is doing now is to honour him by filling in his “résumé”, so to speak.
During that time, there were scholars who had just submitted to the rule of Wu. Some already had official posts, while others were still not unemployed. Lu Xun petitioned, "In the past, Liu Bang (劉邦) employed many talented people, and Emperor Guangwu's (光武) revival of the dynasty (i) attracted many able individual, so much so that all who were able to manifest the Way (ii) came, regardless of distance. Now Jing Province has just been settled, and there are some talented ones whose talents have yet been recognised. Though I am foolish, I beg you sincerely to promote these people, and hence may all within the four seas look towards us and be willing to join us." Sun Quan respected his words and accepted his proposal.
(i) Emperor Guangwu, a cousin of the former Han court, re-established the Han dynasty after the brief interlude of Wang Mang’s (王莽) usurpation.
(ii) I.e., the teachings of the Confucian school of thought.
In the first year of Huangwu (A.D. 222), Liu Bei (劉備) led a large army to the western borders. Sun Quan appointed Lu Xun as Chief Controller (大都督) and was given the authority and power of the army, with Zhu Ran (朱然), Pan Zhang (潘璋), Song Qian (宋謙), Han Dang (韓當), Xu Sheng (徐盛), Xianyu Dan (鮮于丹), Sun Huan (孫桓) and some other fifty thousand men under his command to repel the attackers. Liu Bei had his troops set camp all the way from the Wu Gorge (巫峽) and Jianping (建平) to the borders of Yiling (夷陵). He set up some tens of army agricultural colonies, and rewarded and enticed the many minority tribes in the land with gold, silk, and official posts to his service. Liu Bei also appointed General Feng Xi (馮習) as Grand Controller (大督), Zhang Nan (張南) as leader of the vanguard, Fu Kuang (輔匡), Zhao Rong (趙融), Liao Chun (廖淳), Fu Rong (傅肜) and others as Vice Controllers (別督). Liu Bei first sent Wu Ban (吳班) to command some thousands of men to set up camps on the plains and challenge the enemy to fight. All the (Wu) generals desired to attack these men led by Wu Ban. Lu Xun said, “This must be a ruse, we shall continue observing instead (1).” Upon knowing that his trick was foiled, Liu Bei led eight thousand ambushing troops out of the valley. Lu Xun said, “The reason why I did not heed your proposal to attack the troops on the plain grounds is precisely because I reckoned that they had a plot behind it.”