The Book of Mountains and Rivers
The Book of Mountains and Rivers
Yu Qiuyu is one of China’s greatest modern essayists. Sometimes a prickly commentator, he is above all a storyteller. In this volume he takes his inspiration from China’s geography, both human and physical, and brings the culture of his country to life with human characters and historical narrative. The forests of Hainan, the Three Gorges, classical pagodas, ancient remains under modern Shanghai, even the open skies… all have their stories and cultural connections, traced with erudition and wit by an inquisitive mind.
"I sought a path across mountains and rivers, plastering my brief life across a rugged corner of this planet," explains Yu Qiuyu. The Book of Rivers and Mountains is another in a series of meditative essays about Chinese culture and history. In this book he returns to the Chinese mainland in contemplation of its people and the natural landscape that has shaped their way of life. He refers to mountains and rivers as the "facial expressions of the land" and the only true way of understanding the history of the country and its people.
Pub Date: November 2015
Born in 1946 in China's Zhejiang province, after graduating from the literature department of the Shanghai Theatre Academy in 1968, Yu became the youngest art professor in mainland Chinese history at age 39 in 1985, causing a great stir at the time. Later, he became the head of Shanghai Theater Academy and published a series of academic works for which he received numerous national awards. Although successful in his academic career, Yu felt he need to focus on Chinese culture and began a journey across China, visiting most of the cultural heritage sites in the country. His ensuing publication, "A Bitter Journey Through Culture," became a huge hit immediately following its first publication in 1992. The book became a cultural icon for Chinese readers, and his reflections on Chinese culture and his emotional writing style popularized a new literary style called the "cultural meditation essay" and a new phenomenon termed “YU Qiuyu culture”. Yu then embarked on another journey to visit the cradles of three great civilizations of the world. In 1999, Yu, along with Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV, visited a dozen countries, including Greece, Egypt, Israel and India. His travel notes and personal reflections of these civilizations were collected into another book called " A Sigh Of a Thousand Years." In the six months after that, he traveled to another 26 countries on his own and completed his book "Travel No End." In 2004, he was selected by Beijing University and China Talent Editorial as one of the top ten artistic talents of China and the representative of Chinese culture. In 2005, he was the only Chinese scholar invited to attend UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Forum. His book tours in Taiwan in 2005 attracted thousands of readers and the Taiwan media described his arrival as ‘the unimaginable YU Qiuyu tornado.” In recent years, he has been invited to lecture on Chinese culture and world civilization at prestigious institutions, including Harvard University, Yale University, University of Madrid and Washington Congress Library.