On the Genesis of Zhongshu Qian’s Fortress Besieged

Author:Hongxin Jiang Time:2019-07-09 Click:

Significant portions of Zhongshu Qian’s classic twentieth century novel, Fortress Besieged, are closely correlated with Hunan. This article explores the connections between the novel and Qian’s experiences in National Hunan Normal College (NHNC), later to become Hunan Normal University (HNNU). More than one third of Fortress Besieged describes the experiences of its main character, Hongjian Fang, at the fictional Sanlü University. This article argues that Qian’s time at NHNC had formative impact on Fortress Besieged, in which four pivotal chapters are fictionalized versions of his actual encounters in Hunan. Drawing on archival documents, this article analyzes the novel to determine the relative levels of historical veracity versus imaginative recreations. The ultimate goal is to demonstrate where depictions are realistic or fantastic, and the ways in which Fortress Besieged and NHNC become mutually constitutive reflections of each other.

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