The story of Horose or S. Rosen-Hoa (Part 2)

The post is the second part focused on author Horose or Stéphanie Rosen-Hoa. To access Part 1, follow this link.

Stéphanie Rosen-Hoa, also known as Horose or 羅琛華, settled back in Paris in 1926 with her two children, Leon and Simone Hoa. During her stay, her first book in French “La muraille de Pékin à Paris” (The Beijing Great Wall in Paris) in 1929 by Argo, a small publishing house. She managed to get noticed by several newspapers. An article from local paper “l’Avenir de la Touraine” from 11 November 1929 explains that author is a French/Polish lady who married a Chinese and went to live in China. It adds that the book offers a true and interesting picture of the real China including many anecdotes. A few lines with similar comments were also published in in the “Le Bien Public” (Dijon daily), on first Octobre 1929, as well as in “Les dimanches de la femme” (Women Sundays) on 23rd feb 1930.

She returned to China in 1928, leaving her children to be educated in France. In the same year, she published novel “Him and her” in Chinese.

“La symphonie des ombres chinoises” is the French version of Love and Duty. (see “Love and Duty, the book” for more details about the various editions and translation of this particular book). It was published by edition de la Madeleine in 1932, 11 rue Tronchet, a different publishing house from the previous book. I found a copy in an olnine bookstore.

The book forewords end with “Written in Beijing, reviewed in Paris and finished in Geneva” 1932. S Rosen-Hoa definitely took a trip back to Europe in 1932, publishing an article about “Chinese women” in June 1932 in the montly magazine”L’ Egyptienne” and giving a conference about the condition of women in China at the same period at the Lyceum theater in Paris. She is mentioned by the magazine as “famous novelist Horose”. She also was still in Paris on 16th February 1933 as she was a speaker in a conference about China and Japan.

S. Rosen-Hoa in 1932

Her son being educated in France came back to China for a visit in 1934. She published the novel “Double practice” in Chinese in the same year.

In 1937, as Japan was invading part of China including Beijing, S. Rosen-Hoa went back to France, probably to escape the war. Hua Anjin followed her in 1939. We have very little information about their life in occupied France, but the refuge from the war that they were probably seeking did not last long. Jews in France were also persecuted and many died in Nazis concentration camp, but S. Rosen-Hoa seemed to have escaped it.

She was still living in Paris in 1947, as she wrote a congratulations letter to novelist André Gide who had just received the Nobel price for literature. It is clearly stated that she was living in the same building as André Gide, 1Bis Rus Vaneau in Paris 7th district, near Invalides.

1Bis Rue Vaneau in Paris 7th district

Her husband Hua Nangui returned to China after the war, along with her son Leon who was an architect and his French wife. S. Rosen-Hoa published one last book in France, “Nos sangs mélés” in 1957. Hua Nangui passed away in 1961.

S. Rosen-Hoa went back to Beijing in 1966 to a China very different from the one she had left nearly 30 years earlier, as the communist party had taken power in 1949 and applied many changes to society. She passed away in Beijing in 1970. Her grand daughter 华新民, still lives in Beijing.

Love and duty, the book

Ruan Yinglu movie “Love and Duty” has been the theme of several posts on this blog, focusing on the movie itself, but also on film locations (To read the thread from start, go to post “Love and duty (part 1)“). The 1931 movie was produced by United Photoplay Service, or a 联华影业公司 in Chinese for the Chinese market. It briefly mentions a foreign novel in the opening session, which attracted my attention.

“La symphonie des ombres”

Although it is only shown for a short while, it is very clearly written “Adapted from Madame S. Rosen Hoa’s Novel << La symphonie des ombres >>”. This is very strange as the text is in English, but the name of the novel is in French. What is even more surprising is that Lian Hua film company was close to Chinese patriotic ideas of the time, but based one of its most famous movie on a foreign novel.

Love and duty was first released in 恋爱与义务, that can be translated as “Love & Obligations” or “Love and Duty”, as a 8 parts series in literary magazine 小说世界 (The World of novels) in 1921. The author was indicated as 羅琛華. The book was then published by famous Shanghai based Chinese publisher Commercial Press in 1924.

The book was a great success and it was then published in English as “Love and Duty” by commercial Press in 1926. The author was written then as Ho-Rose. The book in English was also a great success and was reprinted several times, at least in 1927 and 1929. In 1931 the book was turned to movie “Love and duty”, with the success that we know. The theme of the book with its rejection of traditional values definitely matched the spirit of the UPC and the May 4th movement.

“La Symphonie des ombres Chinoises” (symphony of Chinese shadows) was published in 1932 , by Editions de la Madeleine, 11 Rue Tronchet, Paris under the name of S. Horose.

Although there is no reference in this book about the Chinese or English edition, nor the movie adapted from it, he story is very similar to the movie, characters has similar names and the author mentions that she had a successful writing career in China. There is no doubt that this is mostly the same book, with maybe some minor changes.

Interestingly, the French title has little to do with the original English or Chinese title. It is also slightly different from the one displayed in the movie credit as it did not include the “Chinoises” word. It was definitely added at the time of publication in France, emphasizing the China theme of the book and probably trying to capitalise on her previous book published in France which was focused on the cultural differences between the West and China. (See post “The Story of Horose or S. Rosen-Hoa part 2″ for more details”).

The introduction to the book includes a long part where the author complains that French people or the French authorities have no idea about China. She also complains about stories written by French authors and journalists about China that are often inaccurate or sometimes totally false. Although written in the early 1930s, such comments are unfortunately still valid today.

The book was mentioned in several newspaper article, including in Art review “Septimanie” in the 1st June 1933 issue and in daily “L’home libre” from 12th July 1933. She also was invited for a few conference about China at the same time, but the book did not reach by far the success it had in China.

For more details about the movie “Love & duty”, please go to post “Love and duty (Part 1)“. The life Horose / S. Rosen-Hoa is explored in post “The story of Horose / S. Rosen-Hoa“.