Shen Congwen and Zhang Zhaohe | "I have only loved one person of the best age"

Shen Congwen and Zhang Zhaohe | "I have only loved one person of the best age"

Please follow the contributions of Shen Congwen and Zhang Zhaohe in the 31st issue of December 7, 2014 on Sina Weibo: _ Miss absentee today, my friend reported to me that there were others.

Shen Congwen and Zhang Zhao

I have crossed bridges in many places

I have seen clouds

many times

I have drunk many kinds of wine

but loved only one person of the best age

Shen Congwen


Shen Congwen is a Xiangxi countryman with only primary school culture. He can't even use punctuation, but he has to use his pen to share a share of life with professors and doctors in the city. At that time, he wrote hard day and night just to have enough to eat and wear, and his mood made people deeply appreciate the hardship and sadness of life. Later, on the recommendation of Xu Zhimo and others, he came to the Chinese Public School presided over by Hu Shi in his late thirties and became a lecturer in junior literature, which was regarded as a relatively decent job.

did it ever occur to him that in this Jiangnan university, he would be involved in a teacher-student relationship that would make his life restless?

there are few biographies about his relationship with Zhang Zhao, such as the critical Biography of Shen Congwen by Wang Baosheng and the son of Phoenix: a biography of Shen Congwen by the American Jin Jiefu, which makes us deeply regret. Fortunately, "Congwen Letters" made up for this deficiency.

Congwen Letters, edited by Shen Hujiao and reviewed by Zhang Zhao, include letters and diaries. It is divided into eight volumes: "Diary of Love Letters", "Hunan Travel Letters", "floating Letters", "Luo Qingxuan Letters", "raving Crazy talk", "Sichuan Travel Letters", "correspondence to the South", and "Communication for the lame".


in Chinese public schools, Zhang Zhaohe is not necessarily a "school beauty", but at least he is a beautiful girl with a high rate of "looking back". I once saw a picture taken in the summer of 1935, in which Zhang Zhaohe is indeed a classic beauty: full forehead, high nose, beautiful hair, pointed chin, clear outline, clear and refined, etc.

Zhang Zhaohe's beauty and elegant temperament probably made Shen Congwen fall in love at first sight, making this impoverished scholar begin a long courtship process. Shen Congwen followed very closely and was very tired, while Zhang Zhaohe was just silent. While affirming that Shen Congwen was a good man, Zhang Zhaohe had no feelings for him. Although he was tired of Shen Congwen's endless love letters, Zhang Zhao, who was still a child, could not find a suitable way to refuse teacher Shen's enthusiasm. She thought that silence was the best way to refuse, so her courtship letter to Shen Congwen was not repeated as usual. But despite these, Shen Congwen still writes his love letters diligently.

Shen Congwen once talked with Zhang Zhaohe's roommate Wang Hualian, trying to find out Zhang Zhaohe's attitude towards this matter from the king, and hoped that Wang would make it happen. But Wang Hualian's words disappointed Shen Congwen: hundreds of excellent men were chasing Zhang Zhao. She sometimes received dozens of courtship letters in a row and did not reply as usual. If she had to reply, she would have no time to study. She was very tired of people writing to her all the time.

in front of Wang Hualian, whenever he talks about emotion or disappointment, Shen Congwen cries like a child. However, these not only failed to move Zhang Zhaohe, even the messenger Wang Hualian did not feel compassion. Perhaps, in Wang Hualian's view, Shen Congwen, a "countryman" who is always crying, cannot match the beautiful and refined Zhang Zhaohe, so not only did she not help Shen Congwen, on the contrary, she also said something against Shen Congwen.

when Shen Congwen told Hu Shi about this, the outstanding "love ambassador" expressed his intention to help Shen Congwen solve the problem, and thought that if he came forward, it should not be too difficult. However, President Hu overestimated his energy.

one July afternoon in 1930, Zhang Zhao, a slightly shy female student, appeared in President Hu's living room. When we first met, President Hu praised Shen Congwen as a genius and the most promising Chinese novelist. After learning about Zhang Zhaohe's attitude, Hu Shi "stopped nagging" and just "sighed for Shen, saying that with such a genius in society, everyone should help him and give him a chance to develop!" The implication is to blame Zhang Zhaohe for not actively helping Shen Congwen, a genius. In a subsequent letter to Shen Congwen, Hu Shi said: "this woman cannot understand you, let alone your love. You have misused your feelings." Don't let a little woman boast that she has broken Shen Congwen's heart. This person is too young and has too little life experience. Therefore, it can reject the self-satisfaction of others. " It seems that President Hu's view of love lags far behind the situation-it is normal for Zhang Zhaohe not to accept Shen Congwen's love. Has she ever had the mentality of "rejecting others' self-satisfaction"? Besides, is it necessary for her Zhang Zhaohe to have a crush on the man you headmaster Hu has a crush on? What kind of logic is this?

Shen Congwen's letter is not blindly extravagant and full of emotion, he just talks about it, like reasoning with Zhang Zhao. But from the plain text, the reader feels the tenacity of "giving up who you are". In a letter in June 1931, he made it his duty to be Zhang Zhaohe's slave. He said that most people are willing to be slaves at the feet of kings, but he only wants to be Zhang Zhaohe's slave:

"the 'Reed' is easy to break, the 'rock' is difficult to move, and my life is equal to the 'Reed'. The heart that loves you hopes it can be like a 'rock'.

"seeing the bright blue sky in Peiping makes people just want to kneel. Your influence on me is just like this sky, so far away. I watch in the day and dream at night. I always dream of flying upward with wings. Fly up, you will see a lot of stars, have become your eyes.

"do not be angry with me, allow me to kiss your feet with my mouth in a dream. My inferiority complex feels like a slave squatting down on the ground and approaching your feet with his mouth. It is also very blasphemous."

Love makes a man a fool as well as a slave! But you're lucky enough to be a slave. The woman, you will not be in vain to come to this world for a visit. What is being a slave? Even if you are a cow or a horse, or be cut into pieces by five horses, you should risk it!

the seemingly insipid lines reveal Shen Congwen's love for Zhang Zhaohe that has become too strong to be diluted. According to Zhang Zhao, Shen Congwen at that time was both soft and hard and had to force her to give in. When hard, Shen Congwen even threatened her, such as threatening to commit suicide; when soft, Shen Congwen said that even if he was rejected, it would not matter. He would stand up again and be a positive person. However, there was no relaxation for Zhang Zhaohe in his tone. Zhang Zhao wrote in his diary on July 8, 1930: "he said to Lian that if he got the news that made him fail, he had only two ways to go. One is to work hard and make himself upward. This is a positive path, but most of them will not go this way. The other has two branches, one is a suicide, and the other is, he said vaguely,' I am not threatening." I always do, and I always take a breath!' What's wrong with it? Are you going to make me die with him? That is the magnanimity of a child! I thought about it, but I'm not afraid! " Zhang Zhaohe does not know that most men who are passionately in love are children, not to mention the infatuated man Shen Congwen.

under Shen Congwen's persevering pursuit, Zhang Zhaohe's rock-solid heart began to shake: "I still think of people everywhere. Although I don't think he is cute, this heart is always pitiful and honorable." "who arranged such an unreasonable thing that everyone looked at it and shook his head?" It can be seen that her "wavering" is almost entirely out of sympathy. However, compassion is also love. Shen Congwen, a "stubborn" young writer, finally caught up with Zhang Zhaohe through nearly four years of hard work.

there is another story about the love between Shen and Zhang: Shen Congwen once said to Zhang Zhao, "if my father agrees, please let me know earlier and let my countryman have a glass of sweet wine." After his father agreed to his marriage, Zhang Zhaohe sent a telegram to Shen Congwen: "countryman, have a glass of sweet wine." The Telegraph operator was surprised and asked what it meant. Zhao said sheepishly, "Don't worry about it, take a picture."


from the "Hunan trip letter", we can see that during the several years after marriage, the young couple felt like glue, affectionate, happy, and sweet, and they wrote letters with intimate terms such as "three or three" and "second Brother", which were admired by people.

Zhang Zhao worried: "will the wind in Changsha roar so mercilessly, blowing my second brother's body into a piece of ice?" For the wind, I am very worried, just because I am sitting in a warm room, with the wind, but also blow my heart cold. I don't know how the second elder brother supports it. " Shen Congwen comforted: "three or three, be good, don't worry, I am all right!" I'm alone on the boat, and I always think of you. " ……

during this period, Shen and Zhang were sipping the sweet wine of love. However, once upon a time, this glass of sweet wine unexpectedly changed its taste and turned into a cup of bitter wine. In the first few years of the full-scale outbreak of the War of Resistance against Japan, their love was put to the test.

after the fall of Beijing, Shen Congwen and several intellectuals fled south in disguise, while Zhang Zhaohe stayed in Beijing with his two children. We don't know why Zhang Zhaohe didn't leave Beijing with Shen Congwen. Is it because the objective conditions at that time did not allow Shen Congwen to escape with his family? Or is it because Zhang Zhaohe doesn't want to go with Shen Congwen at all? In his letter, Zhang Zhaohe repeatedly stated that his reason for staying in Beijing was: the child needs to be taken care of, and it is not convenient to leave Beijing; Shen Congwen has too many letters and manuscripts that need to be cleaned up and protected; and the whole family will follow Shen Congwen, which will drag him down. In the drifting slips, we can see that there have been some cracks in the relationship between the two.

Shen Congwen is usually not good at financial management, and he has spent a lot of money on collecting antiques and cultural relics, so he has no savings. Once war breaks out, life becomes tense. Zhang Zhao stayed in Beijing with his two children and lived a difficult life. Shen Congwen was as restrained in the southwest and often borrowed money from friends. As a result, life chores like firewood, rice, oil, and salt have become one of the themes of Zhang Zhaohe's letters. In her letters, she always accused Shen Congwen of being too extravagant and unfrugal in the past, "swollen his face and pretending to be fat" and "not being a gentleman but pretending to be a gentleman", which made his life very tense now.

Shen Congwen is different. He doesn't seem to care much about the difficulties of real-life and is still addicted to feelings-thoughts, doubts, fears, anxieties about Zhang Zhaohe, all kinds of feelings intertwined. He believes that Zhang Zhaohe has many opportunities to leave Beijing to meet him, but always "procrastinate and wonder" and deliberately miss it. He suspected that Zhang Zhaohe did not love him and did not want to live with him, so he tried to avoid him. He even told Zhang Zhaohe that she was "always a free man" 12; if she had another lover in Beijing, or even left himself, he would not blame her; his reason for doing so was that since he loved her, he should not let her be aggrieved.

it seems that although Zhang Zhaohe was moved by Shen Congwen's true feelings and married him, he did not love him very much, or that is to say, there was less passion for love in the feelings, mainly the affection generated by being together for a long time. Shen Congwen is not satisfied with this insipid affection. Subconsciously, Shen Congwen may have a certain sense of inferiority: from the point of view of appearance, temperament, and birth, Zhang Zhaohe is undoubtedly far stronger than his "countryman", and this inferiority complex leads to his emotional confusion and misgivings.

the note of disharmony between the two must have appeared before Shen Congwen left Beijing. In Lin Huiyin's "wife's living room", Shen Congwen is also one of the regulars. When he had an emotional dispute with Zhang Zhao, Shen Congwen poured out his troubles to Lin Huiyin.

Shen Congwen's childish emotional innocence may disappoint Zhang Zhaohe and be young. She had to deal with the garrulous words of this big man and writer like a big sister: "if you write that kind of nonsense, what kind of freedom is not free? I don't like to hear it. I won't let you talk about it in the future.". I won't answer your letter if I write like that again. ".

based on the information currently in my possession, I have no way to understand whether Shen Congwen's doubts about Zhang Zhaohe have a certain basis. In any case, it is an obvious fact that the two are out of proportion to their emotional investment.

that's the way life is. People often say that "hard-twisted melons are not sweet". Love is out of balance, and even if you get married, you will not have a long and happy life. According to analysis, apart from the harmonious life of Shen and Zhang for a few years after marriage, I am afraid that most of the time, their love life is not very ideal.

of course, it's not that Zhang Zhaohe did anything wrong. It is a meaningless topic to discuss love and non-love and to discuss the number of people who devote themselves to feeling. Marriage is a complex, seemingly matching pair, but in fact, it may be very unsatisfactory, and when two people with a serious imbalance of emotional investment are tied together, their quality is even more questionable.

the postscript written by Zhang Zhaohe in August 1995 is strong evidence of their emotional disharmony:

"is Congwen happy or unhappy all his life with me?" There's no answer. I don't understand him. I don't fully understand him. Later, I gradually had some understanding, but I understood who he was and the heavy pressure he had endured in his life. I was collating and compiling his manuscripts now. What you didn't know in the past, you know now; what you didn't understand in the past, you understand now.

". It's too late! Why can't we discover him, understand him and help him in all aspects of his lifetime? on the contrary, there are so many contradictions that cannot be resolved! It's too late to repent. "

it should be said that the aging Zhang Zhaohe is indeed repenting, deeply repenting. She knew too little about Shen Congwen, especially in the early years of the founding of the people's Republic of China, her attitude was even worse for Shen Congwen. Zhang Zhao, who embraced the new China enthusiastically, always reproached Shen Congwen with his children for not being positive and not moving closer to the new China. Shen Congwen, who is insane, is unable to get the warmth and comfort he deserves from his family. For several years, Shen Congwen and Zhang Zhaohe did not live together. Shen Congwen went to Zhang Zhaohe's for dinner every night and brought back breakfast and lunch the next day. Beijing is so cold in winter that Shen Congwen has to engage in academic research while nibbling on bean dregs and steamed buns. Zhang Zhao does not quite understand Shen Congwen's obsession with antiques and cultural relics. Generally speaking, as a wife, Zhang Zhaohe's concern and understanding of Shen Congwen is lacking. It was not until after the fall of the Gang of four that Shen Congwen was transferred to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, where he was given a better house, a car, and a driver, and the two elders lived a normal family life.

what is the family life of Shen and Zhang? Wang Zengqi, who has been personally brokered by Shen Congwen for many years, said: "Mr. Shen's family is the best family I have ever seen, and it is in a cordial and harmonious atmosphere all the time. Two sons, Xiao long and Xiao Hu, and brother Yiyi. " According to the understanding of most people, as Shen Congwen's direct disciple, Wang Zengqi's evaluation should be the most authoritative, but I think it is precise because of the relationship between teachers and students that his evaluation can not be fully believed. Taboo as a teacher is an ancient Chinese tradition. What's more, in this sentence, the two children are the center, but there is no positive evaluation of the relationship between Shen and Zhang.


many of the diaries and letters of Shen and Zhang have been lost. "from the Literary Letters" is only a remaining part, and it feels very thin to read. But from this thin family letter, readers can understand the other side of Shen Congwen-simple and difficult life, persistent and thoughtful personality, rich and single-minded feelings. Similarly, readers can also learn more about Zhang Zhaohe, an excellent woman who lives under the aura of the great writer Shen Congwen, by reading this family letter. She has a great talent for literature and art, and her writing skills are not under Shen Congwen. He also published a book called Lakeside. However, due to the drag of life, she had to sacrifice her talent, to better help Shen Congwen achieve a great career.

"Congwen Letters" is very touching. Zhang Zhao said to Liu Hontao: "after the book came out, friends of our generation were extremely moved after reading it. Li Jianwu's wife, you Shufen, said that she was fascinated when she got the book and saw it late at night. 'i think you must have written it with tears, and I read it with tears, 'she said. Many things were not clear in the past, but confusion passed by. "

another remark about Shen Congwen's soul affair with Zhang Zhaowen and Shen Congwen

Shen Congwen implicitly admitted that the "Border Town" was the result of his extramarital feelings seducing and escaping in reality. The object of Shen Congwen's extramarital affair was the poet Gao Qingzi, and their relationship deeply hurt Zhang Zhao. Shen Congwen was also in pain. he went to Liang's house to confide in Lin Huiyin and asked her to help sort out his "overflowing emotions."

"Toad No. 13"

Shen Congwen, who can't even use punctuation, chooses to make a living by the pen, and its difficulty can be imagined. Fortunately, Shen Congwen met Yu Dafu and soon opened up the situation in the literary world. later, recommended by Xu Zhimo, he became a teacher at the Chinese public school hosted by Hu Shi and got a decent job.

Shen Congwen made a joke in his first class in a Chinese public school. He stood in front of the students who came to attend the lecture for ten minutes, then spent ten minutes reading what he had intended to say for more than an hour, and then looked at the students and fell silent again. Finally, he had to write on the blackboard: "Today is my first time to take the stage for class. There are so many people that I am afraid." The students laughed a lot.

among the girls who witnessed Shen Congwen make a fool of himself, Zhang Zhao, who eventually became his wife, pursued it painstakingly in the future. And.

Zhang Zhao came from a famous family in the south of the Yangtze River, came from a distinguished family, was beautiful, and there were a large number of suitors behind him. Zhang Zhao once numbered the suitors-Frog one, Frog two, Frog three. Among the many suitors at that time, Shen Congwen had no advantage. He had not graduated from primary school, had never studied abroad, was not a professor, and his character was very dull. In the words of his second sister, Zhang Yunhe, he could only be regarded as "the 13th toad."

however, the toad fell in love with the White Swan at first sight. Shen Congwen didn't dare to express his love face to face, so he began to write love letters. Zhang Zhao received the first love letter from teacher Shen, which only wrote one sentence: "I don't know why I suddenly fell in love with you." Zhang Zhao did not reply, and she thought silence was the best refusal. However, more and more letters from Shen Congwen are getting thicker and thicker, which annoys her. She wrote in her diary: "I received another unsigned letter from S. The letter from my husband (Shen's code name) is headless and brainless. It's uncomfortable! "

without a response from Zhang Zhaohe, Shen Congwen began to resort to both hard and soft tactics, looking for life and death. In July 1930, Zhang Zhaohe described in her diary what Shen Congwen said to her roommate: "if he gets the news that makes him fail, he has only two ways to go, one is to work hard and make himself upward, this is a positive path, but mostly not this way; the other has two branches, one is a suicide, and the other is, he said vaguely,' I'm not threatening." I always do, and I always take a breath!' What's wrong with it? Are you going to make me die with him? That is the magnanimity of a child! I thought about it, but I'm not afraid! "

soon, rumors spread all over the school, which overwhelmed the notorious Zhang Zhaohe, and she decided to go to the headmaster Hu Shi to "expose" the teacher's misconduct. Unexpectedly, before that, Shen Congwen went to Hu Shi to cry because he could not get Zhang Zhao. Hu Shi said he would give him a hand. Zhang Zhao came to the door on his initiative, and Hu Shi thought it was an opportunity, so he had the following dialogue:

"it's not good for Mr. Shen to write this for me!"

"what's wrong! Your father and I are from Anhui, so let me talk to your father about you. "

"Don't talk!"

"I know Shen Congwen loves you stubbornly!"

"I stubbornly don't love him!"

finally, Zhang Zhaohe left angrily.

it was her family who accepted Shen Congwen earlier than Zhang Zhao.

Shen Congwen's visit to the Zhang family is very popular. At that time, Zhang Zhaohe's father and stepmother lived in Shanghai, but Shen Congwen did not see him. When he returned to Qingdao, he wrote a trust to Zhang Yunhe and asked Zhang his father's attitude towards marriage: "if my father agrees, please let me know as soon as possible. Let me have a glass of sweet wine as a countryman." Zhang Fu was very open-minded and advocated that the marriage of his children should be taken care of by themselves. after Zhang Yunhe got his father's reply, he went to the post office and telegraphed Shen Congwen, "Shen Congwen of Qingdao University in Shandong Province." The word "permission" not only means that the marriage is allowed but also represents the name of the person who sent the telegram. After all, Zhang Zhaohe was careful when he was in love. Fearing that Shen Congwen could not read the telegram, Zhang Zhaohe quietly went to the post office and remade a letter: "countryman, have a glass of sweet wine."

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with tenacity, Shen Congwen caught up with his "goddess" in mind. On September 9, 1933, Shen Congwen married Zhang Zhaohe in Peiping Central Park.

during the summer vacation of 1933, Zhang Zhaohe returned to Suzhou after graduation, followed by Shen Congwen. To make a good impression on Zhang Zhao, he sold the copyright of a book and bought a set of hardcover Russian novels translated into English as a welcome gift. According to Zhang Yunhe's recollection, on the day of Shen Congwen's visit, Zhang Zhao went to the library to read. Shen Congwen thought she did not see it on purpose and stood at the door helplessly. Later, the second sister agreed to come out and invited him to sit at home. Shen Congwen refused and insisted on going back to the hotel. Zhang Yun-he "acted bravely from an early age and loved the beauty of being a man more." when the third sister got home, he advised her to go and see Shen Congwen. Zhang Zhao refused to go and said to Shen Congwen, "you must not force me to wear high heels to perm my hair, and you must not ask me to wash things for fear that I will roughen my hands. It doesn't matter whether what I eat is good or bad. I don't care about what I wear. I don't care about what I wear. It's natural to be able to live." This triviality of family affairs makes Shen Congwen have a different view of marriage in the past. Among them, the one that best reflects this mentality is Shen Congwen's masterpiece Border Town. After all, it is an unusual contrast to writing a tragic work on a wedding honeymoon.

Shen Congwen said that "Border Town" means that he writes "some kind of repressed dream" on paper, and this kind of "repressed dream" is "something emotionally backlog". Later, Shen Congwen implicitly admitted that "Border Town" was the result of his escape from extramarital feelings in reality.

the object of Shen Congwen's extramarital affair is the poet Gao Qingzi. At that time, Gao Qingzi worked as a tutor in Xiong Xiling's family. Once Shen Congwen went to visit Xiong Xiling, Xiong Xiling was absent, Gao Qingzi came forward to receive him, and both sides made a good impression when they met for the first time. A month later, the two met again, and Gao Qingzi deliberately dressed himself according to the plot described in a novel by Shen Congwen, implicitly expressing his affection for Shen Congwen. Shen Congwen was so sensitive that he naturally understood that the two were getting closer and closer.

the relationship between Shen Congwen and Gao Qingzi deeply hurt Zhang Zhao. Shen Congwen was also in pain. he went to Liang's house to confide in Lin Huiyin and asked her to help sort out his "overflowing emotions." Later, Lin Huiyin put forward a very intriguing suggestion for him to talk to Jin Yuelin. "he understands and understands human nature at the same time, even though he doesn't necessarily mention his history." In the end, Shen Congwen, who loved his wife deeply, put on the brakes in time, but this kind of "soul derailment" did not lead to the breakdown of the family, but deepened the misunderstanding between husband and wife. Coincidentally, later, Shen Congwen and Gao Qingzi were reunited at Southwest Associated University, which almost sparked. It's just that, compared with a long marriage, a short period of extramarital life love is much more fragile, Gao Qingzi finally chose to quit, it is said that later married an engineer.

although there are many disharmonies in life, Zhang Zhaohe has always been the goddess in Shen Congwen's mind, and Shen Congwen's literary creation has also benefited from this marriage. Zhang Yunhe, the second elder sister, recalled, "in 1969, on the eve of Shen Congwen's downfall, standing in a messy room, he pulled out a wrinkled letter from his bulging pocket, like crying and laughing, saying to me, 'this is the first letter from the third sister (Zhang Zhao, who has been sent to Xianning, Hubei).' He held up the letter, his face was very shy and gentle. Then he began to cry, and the old man, who was almost seventy, cried like a child, sad and happy. "

during the Cultural Revolution, the three members of the Shen family were scattered from three places. Shen Congwen found the first letter sent back to him by Zhang Zhaohe from a book messed up by the Red Guards. He laughed and sobbed at the same time. The nearly 70-year-old was as happy and sad as a child. On May 10, 1988, Shen Congwen, who had experienced many vicissitudes, passed away peacefully, leaving his infinite nostalgia to his white-haired wife, just like the infinitely tender Xiangxi left to the world.

on August 23, 1995, seven years after Shen Congwen's death, Zhang Zhao wrote in the postscript to Congwen's letter: ". From the text to get along with me, this life, is it happiness or misfortune? There's no answer. I don't understand him. I don't fully understand him. Later, I gradually had some understanding, but I understood who he was and the heavy pressure he had endured in his life. I was collating and compiling his manuscripts now.  what you didn't know in the past, you know now; what you didn't understand in the past, you understand now. The more he turns from the pile of scrap paper to more of his legacy works, even if they are scattered, with no beginning and no end, the more valuable they will be.