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. And it is in such cross-cultural interaction that Lin Yutang developed his philosophical notion of youmo as ‘‘tolerant irony’’ based on the Taoist ironical stance to- wards life as well as the Confucian ‘‘Spirit of Reasonableness.’’ Keywords: humor/‘youmo’; translation; Chinese cross-cultural; Lin Yutang 1. Introduction To non-Chinese speakers, the Chinese term youmo may not have an ex- plicit relation with ‘humor.’ To Chinese speakers, youmo, or ‘‘幽默,’’ has Humor 20–3 (2007), 277–295 0933–1719/07/0020–0277 DOI 10.1515/HUMOR.2007.014 6 Walter de Gruyter become such


Shikous unpassenden Sprachge- brauch und macht aus der tragischen persönlichen Geschichte Dings ein Gesellschaftsstück.14 Dings Ernsthaftigkeit den Dingen gegenüber und sein moralisches Bewusstsein vertragen sich so gar nicht mit Xiaohus Haltung des Laisser-faire. Das Wort ›Humor‹ (youmo) tritt im Verlauf der Erzählung in ver- schiedenen Nuancierungen auf, die vom absurd Unpassenden bis hin zum Komischen reichen. Dabei ist das Wort youmo aus Xiaohus Mund immer gut gemeint, um Ding vor Lächerlichkeit zu bewahren. Angetan von Dings Idee aus einem verlassenen

), 128; “Th e True Story of Ah Q,” 79–81, 84, 103, 107, 131 Lu Yiyan, 180 Ma Guoliang, 152 Manchus: anti- Manchuism, 78, 99, 216n23; lost privileges of, 25–26. See also Lao She; Puyi manhua. See cartoons Mao Zedong, 159–61 maren. See cursing; mockery Maren de yishu. See Fine Art of Reviling, Th e Master of Humor (youmo dashi), 133 Master of Play (Youxi zhuren), 20, 168; Li Boyuan as, 42, 207n19, 215n11; Shanghai Masters of Play, 42, 215n11 Ma Xingchi, 54–56, 55f, 57f May 30th Movement, 80 May Fourth Movement, 2, 80, 91, 131 McKeown, Adam, 89, 231n44 “Meeting Li

back to Mao- era revolutionary imperatives to just “get it done”—be it production or revolution—by any means necessary.36 But even as semantics continue to shift , some refrains endure. In 2006, the prominent author Can Xue wrote in her blog that “Chinese people, by and large, have no sense of humor [youmo], only a sense of farce [huaji].”37 Humor is alien to the Chinese temperament. Chinese people condone opportunistic be hav ior as an inescapable part of their national character and laugh off tragic misdeeds as a joke. Such a categorical and elitist

was Rural Revival Year. For thinkers it was Attack Hu Shi Year; for professional authors, it was Publish Your Autobiog- raphy Year; and for the rest of the literati it was the Year of Humor (youmo nian).2 Humor exploded onto China’s literary scene on 16 September 1932 with the ar- rival of the Analects Fortnightly, a new Shanghai magazine edited by Lin Yutang.3 Lin had coined a new term for humor, youmo, and the Analects broadcast his transliteration to a broad audience, along with a new philosophy of how to think, speak, and live. Within weeks of the magazine

.423. 89 Lu Xun’s brand of sardonic “facetiousness” and his experiments with tradition may also be contrasted with the practices of Lin Yutang (1895–1976), who edited the journal Analects in order to provide readers a bit of leisure as well as some diversion through “humor” (youmo), an enterprise Lu Xun was highly Notes to Pages 188–195 269 critical of. For a discussion of the pen battles between Lu Xun and Lin Yutang, see Chen Shuyu, Lu Xun lunzheng ji 1.795–897. 90 LXQJ 2.386. 91 This “double alienation” in the linguistic realm is reminiscent of the

expressions of Th e Comic Spirit (Huaji hun) (see fi gure 5.1).6 Nowadays, huaji is more oft en used to denote the silly, ridiculous, or far- cical. Th is narrowing of meaning is attributable in part to the popularization in the 1930s of a new term for humor, youmo, as we will see in chapter 6, but likely also to the rise in the 1920s of a farcical sensibility rooted in the urban milieu of Shanghai. Shanghai’s swelling urban population, its hunger for variety entertainment, and the proliferation of mass media outlets gave rise to all manner of comedic sensibilities