Qian Zhongshu was a Chinese literary scholar and writer known for his wit and erudition. His works of non-fiction are characterised by their large amount of quotations in both Chinese and Western languages. He also played an important role in digitizing Chinese classics late in his life.
Qian Zhongshu was a native of Wuxi, Jiangsu. Because he first grabbed a book when he was only one year old, he was named "Zhongshu". He was born into a cultured and scholarly family. He received an education in the secondary school, Qian Zhongshu was good at both English and Chinese.
He was rather ignorant in his daily life. He was always confused about his directions. He lost his way often. He wore his clothes the wrong way round.
Despite scoring only 15 marks in mathematics, Qian Zhongshu was accepted into Tsinghua University in 1929 because of his excellent performance in the Chinese and English language. He was exposed to a wide array of academic works from different countries.
After spending two years at Oxford University studying English, he studied French Literature for one more year at the University of Paris in France.
Qian Zhongshu's novel Fortress Besieged has become widely known today. However, its popularity in China was rather shortlived. The Chinese American literary critic, Xia Zhiqing, mentioned Fortress Besieged in his History of Modern Chinese Novels. He wrote, "Fortress Besieged is one of the most amazing and meticulously drafted China's greatest masterpiece." Novel has been translated into many different languages.