Yang Jiang, a prolific Chinese writer and translator who was the widow of Qian Zhongshu, an acclaimed novelist, died May 25 at a hospital in Beijing. She was 104.
A state-owned news website, the Paper, said her death had been confirmed by her publisher, the People’s Literature Publishing House. The cause was not disclosed.
Ms. Yang was known for her fiction, plays, essays and nonfiction. She was the first person to translate “Don Quixote” into Chinese, and she also translated another European classic, “Gil Blas,” as well as other literary works.
In the 1960s, during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, she and her husband were sent to a remote part of China, where they lived for years in a single room while performing hard labor as an act of reeducation. They were denied access to books.
Ms. Yang’s poignant 1981 memoir, “A Cadre School Life: Six Chapters,” described the life she and her husband led during their years of internal exile.
Her 1988 novel, “Baptism,” described how Chinese intellectuals adjusted to the changing world brought by Mao Zedong’s communist revolution of the 1940s. It was on the same theme as her husband’s best-known work, “Fortress Besieged” (1949).
She and her husband studied in Britain in the 1930s and often spoke French and English to each other throughout their lives in China. After Qian’s death in 1998, Ms. Yang embarked on the task of compiling and editing her husband’s unpublished works and remained prolific herself.
Her 2003 essay collection “We Three,” about her family life with her late husband and their daughter, who died in 1997, was a bestseller.
Ms. Yang was born July 17, 1911, in Beijing and was educated at Chinese universities and, during the 1930s, attended the University of Oxford in Britain with her husband. She was a playwright based in occupied Shanghai in the 1930s and 1940s and published a collection of essays, “Written in the Margins of Life,” in 1941.
Later, she taught for many years at Beijing’s Tsinghua University until retiring in the 1980s.
Late in life, she was remarkably prolific, publishing a series of memoirs and essays, including the reflective “Arriving at the Margins of Life” in 2007.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified “Gil Blas” as a Spanish literary classic. It is French.
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