Abstract

This article examines the subject of queues in the life and writings of Lu Xun (1881–1936), the most prominent figure in modern Chinese literature. The long-standing reluctance of readers and critics to associate this backward hairstyle with Lu Xun's iconic figure has restricted our understanding of the topic to two well-known satirical portraits in his short fiction, Ah Q and Sevenpounder. This article, however, proposes that the queue is of more than satiric interest—that the author's own experience raises fundamental questions about how he discloses and transmutes certain experiences in his writings. Starting from some little-studied events featuring queues in his pre-Republican years and a puzzling short story that recounts them, this essay analyzes the queue's autobiographical connections and their varied literary manifestations. It also makes a case for reexamining the uses of autobiography for a writer whose life story is an important part of his influence.

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