Preface to the Third Edition

Preface to the Third Edition

What I wrote in my epilogue to the first edition of About Women and in my preface to the second edition was all true,but it appeared as though written by a gentleman,in a tone suitable to the status of such an author.But now,I have no alternative but to“drop my veil and show who I am.”

What happened is that the Ningxia People's Press had someone pass on to me a message asking for something to publish,a demand I found myself unable to meet other than to send them About Women,a book of mine long since out of print.By the way,in early September,1966,all the books I had written were impounded by the Red Guards for“investigation,”and up to now what happened to my books is still unknown!I now have at hand only this one copy of About Women,which,fortunately,Comrade Ba Jin happened to find in a second-hand bookstore in Shanghai.Since I have a special liking for this book,I often leaf through it in my leisure moments.I do this not only because I feel like meeting the characters I'm fond of in this book,but also because the reasons why I wrote the book are quite interesting.First,in that period of 1940-1943,I was really somewhat short of money and had need to sell some literary work(having just received the payment for the first one of the essays in About Women,which allowed us to afford our New Year's Eve supper of 1940 at the Three-Six-Nine Snack Bar in Chongqing).Second,being able to refrain from using my pen name Bing Xin in writing these essays,I could remain“free of any responsibility”and enjoy more freedom in joking.

The second edition of About Women was handed over to the Kaiming Bookstore in care of Comrade Ba Jin.Now,the text for its third edition is being handed over,care of Comrade Caichen,Ba Jin's younger brother.What I have done appears similar to the behavior of a child who,having done behind the backs of the grown-ups something mischievous to his own profit but at nobody's expense,feels very happy and satisfied at his exploit,but can only whisper this story to his closest chums.

Bing Xin

August 31,1980