no previousno next



Wu-chi Liu, an educator and prominent scholar in Chinese literature, died peacefully at his home in Menlo Park, California, on October 3rd, 2002. He was 95 years old. During his long and productive life, Professor Liu served as a link between traditional China and the modern era, and a bridge between Chinese culture and the west.

A native of Wukiang in Kiangsu Province, China, Wu-chi Liu was born on July 22, 1907, into a family of traditional learning. His father, Liu Ya-tse, was a famous poet and the founder and editor of the literary Southern Society Journal from 1909 to 1923. The journal promoted patriotic sentiment against Manchu rule and advocated ideas about the liberation of individuals from the bondage of the feudal system.

In his youth Professor Liu attended Tsing Hua College (now Tsing Hua University) in Beijing in preparation for education in the United States. He came to this country in 1927 to attend Lawrence College (now Lawrence University), where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1931, at the age of twenty-four, he received a Ph.D. in English literature from Yale University.

After returning to China in 1932, Professor Liu embarked on a distinguished career, teaching at Nankai University, Southwestern Associated University, and Central University. The upheavals of the Second World War brought him back to the United States, where he taught at several universities and colleges, including Rollins College, Yale University, and the University of Pittsburgh. He came to Indiana University in 1961, taking an active part in the creation of the department of East Asian Languages and Literatures - the present East Asian Languages and Cultures. He served as the department's first chair for five years, from 1962 to 1967; many look upon him as its founder. His students at Indiana include a number who are now well-known scholars in the field of Chinese literature. He retired from teaching in 1976.

A distinguished and productive scholar, Professor Liu wrote and translated more than twenty-five books, among them A Short History of Confucian Philosophy, An Introduction to Chinese Literature, Su Man-shu, and the important and influential anthology Sunflower Splendor: Three Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry, which he co-edited. He is also the author of a great many articles and essays in both Chinese and English on the literatures of both these eastern and western cultures. Late in life, in 1989, he organized the International Southern Society - an echo of his father's work - and supervised for five years the publication of an annual literary journal.

His wife, Helen Gaw, passed away in 1995. He is survived by his daughter Shirley Clayton and her husband Robert Clayton of Palo Alto, California, and two grandchildren.

Y. J. Chih

October 2002

no previousno next