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Louis Cha's literary genius lives on
Latest Updated by 2004-11-18 10:09:22

With a huge popular following, standing ovation and warm applause, Louis Cha no doubt attracted more than his fair share of attention at Tuesday's lecture organized by the Fifth Shenzhen Reading Month.

It is said that wherever Chinese people live, there are wuxia (also known as martial arts) legends, which are like fairy tales for adults. Wu means martial arts, and xia means a heroic and chivalrous spirit.

Louis Cha, the creator of adult fairy tales, has not just started a Louis Cha reading craze. He has also become a cultural phenomenon in Chinese communities around the world. His works, all written between 1955 to 1972, have become a byword for martial arts legends in Chinese. The stories themselves are filled with secret societies, honor and betrayal, hospitality and love, revenge and duty as well as the magical kung fu style.

Like most classics, they are large works set against a meticulously researched historical background. Dozens of films and TV series have been adapted from his novels.

"My reading experience of Louis Cha's wuxia began with the TV series Legend of Condor Heroes almost 20 years ago. The hero's personality is very similar to mine, so I saw myself living the hero's life on TV," said Xi Shijun, a Louis Cha fan in his forties.

Like Xi, many Chinese people have grown up with Louis Cha's novels. While the values and tastes of readers have changed dramatically during recent decades, these novels remain like permanent magnets that draw generations of Chinese readers.

The touching heroic spirit and everlasting love is always able to touch people's soft spot regardless of sex, age, educational background and social status. That's why Louis Cha's works boast the largest readership base: from unsophisticated peasants to urban sophisticated professionals, from government officials to scientific researchers.

Cha, whose texts are deemed the classics of traditional wuxia writing, has a theory about fabrication: "To make a lie credible you'd better tell 10 true things with it."

The theory works well when applied to Cha's writing. In his books, the stories are always set in contexts full of rich and faithful historical details; the rationales and terminologies of martial arts are elaborately described. As a result, he somehow achieves a sense of verisimilitude for the utopia of his martial arts heroes.

Cha also believes what makes a great novel is the realistic depiction of human characters, the power to create and portray a vivid character that people understand, have compassion for and are touched by what he does.

Louis Cha's novels bring readers joy and Cha has equal fun in creating them. "Writing gives me space for my imagination and joy in creating characters, just like a director."

Notwithstanding this, Cha said his real aim in writing novels is to assert traditional Chinese ethics and sublime moral qualities.

"Wuxia novels must depict justice and righteousness. Good people fight off bad guys. Traditional ethics are asserted through the characters and their stories, not by preaching with words."

Cha has contributed to society as a master of literature for several decades. These days he is retired and leads a carefree life.

"Now I concentrate on academic research. I am particularly interested in the history of the Han Dynasty and the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire fell while China remains. I believe it has to do with Chinese culture."

Cha remarks that the joy in writing novels comes from creating while that of studying history comes from discovery. He finds joy in evaluating history with new perspectives, concluding new theories, getting inspiration and advancing spiritual civilization.

Editor: Catherine

By: Source:szdaily
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