Readers of The New York Times‘ recent article on Dr. Wu Lien-Teh 伍連德 should see Professor Christopher Rea’s (University of British Columbia) book IMPERFECT UNDERSTANDING: INTIMATE PORTRAITS OF MODERN CHINESE CELEBRITIES in which Dr. Wu is profiled by the famous Wen Yuan-ning.
Wen wrote “Dr. Wu first attracted the world’s attention by the magnificent & merciful work he did in stamping out the fury of the last great Manchurian plague. For that, he was given the MD honoris causa of his Alma Mater [Cambridge University]. Foreign governments were not slow to heap honors on him.”
Another interesting tidbit from Wen: “What we like best is to find Dr. Wu seated in a chair which he has bought in some secondhand shop, surrounded by musty old magazines and secondhand books, talking about this picture and that plague, while his hands fondly handle a Sung vase or some precious relic of the past. Then his face lights up; and we know we are standing before a man, who is not only a great doctor but a great lover of that which can give the highest quality to our moments as they pass—great Art.”
Born in Malaya, Dr. Wu Lien-Teh is the first Chinese to be nominated for a Nobel Prize—not surprising that he is hailed by Wen to be “one who has something better than cleverness—the capacity for hard work, which almost amounts to genius.”
*This book includes 57 images and is part of the the Cambria Sinophone World Series, headed by Professor Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania).