Mao Dun, the original name was Shen Dehong with the courtesy name of Yanbing, a modern writer and social activist, the first Minister of the Ministry of Culture of new China. He was born in Guanqian Street, Wuzhen, Tongxiang County, Zhejiang Province, on July 4, 1896. Shen Yongxi, his father, was a brilliant scholar in the late Qing Dynasty, who was well versed in traditional Chinese medicine. He was an open-minded reformer. His mother, Chen Aizhu, was a liberal, farsighted and strong-minded woman. Mao Dun lost his father when he was 10 years old. In his childhood, he accepted knowledge of literature, geography and history from his mother. Therefore, Mao Dun said, "My first teacher of enlightenment is my mother" (The Road I Have Walked).
Mao Dun was admitted to the Preparatory Department of Peking University in 1913, and graduated in 1916, and then he worked in the Compilation Institute of Shanghai Commercial Press. He began his literary activities in 1920, and organized a literary seminar together with Zheng Zhenduo, Ye Shengtao and others. In 1921, he joined the edition of Novel Monthly and promoted the realism to the public. He also translated and introduced foreign literature and art, impacting a lot on the New Literature Movement in China. In 1927, his first novel Disillusionment was published, which was combined with the Shake (1928) and Pursuit (1928) into a trilogy, named Erosion (Shi), had aroused strong repercussions. Midnight, the novel published in 1933, was his most important masterpiece. Mao Dun used 113 pen names in his life including Xuanzhu, Fangbi, Zhijing, Pulao and Xingtian, to fight against KMT’s news inspection agencies.
After the founding of new China, Mao Dun became the first Minister of the Ministry of Culture. He was elected as a representative to the NPC, a standing member of the National Committee of the CPPCC and a vice-chairman of the Fourth and Fifth National Committees of the CPPCC.
Mao Dun was concerned about the construction of his hometown. In May 1980, he published his article "Lovely Hometown" in the Dianjiang Daily. He said, “The endless of years and the long distances have never blocked my homesickness." In December of that year, he gave a number of books to Wuzhen Middle School. He wrote more than ten inscriptions for his hometown. The last inscription for his hometown was "Wuzhen Cinema".
On March 27, 1981, Mao Dun died of illness in Beijing. On his deathbed, he wrote to the Party Central Committee to express his unswerving belief in the cause of communism and demand that he wanted to be recognized as a member of the CPC. The Central Committee of the CPC decided to resume his membership of the CPC on the basis of his request and lifetime performance. His Party's age began in 1921.
Mao Dun has left more than 12 million words of works besides translation. Since 1983, the People's Literature Publishing House has published forty volumes of Complete Works of Mao Dun, including all his literary works.
Mao Dun's life experience is rich and the process is bumpy, focusing on literature and revolution. With his genius and efforts, he has reached the peak of modern Chinese literature, and he deserves to be the first Minister of the Ministry of Culture with the qualification of a great literary master.
With such a fellow townsman, Wuzhen people could be proud. He seems to be a model of the cultural spirit of a thousand-year-old town, and a cultural monument that future generations will constantly come to visit.Keyword: