Dr. Wu Lien-Teh, First Chinese Nobel Prize Nominee for his work on the plague—One of the modern Chinese celebrities in “Imperfect Understanding”
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).