What was originally Hongkou Park (1905), once a foreigners' park opened to the Chinese only in 1928, has been renamed for China's best-known 20th-century writer, Lu Xun (1881-1936), who lived in this neighborhood from 1927 until his death. Known as the "father of modern Chinese literature" because of his role in developing the modern style of Chinese prose as well as in helping simplify the Chinese script, Lu Xun was a prolific writer who translated science-fiction novels into Chinese just as easily as he penned scathing critiques of Confucianism and the alternately submissive and arrogant Chinese character. Extolled as a political revolutionary (Mao Zedong penned an inscription on Lu Xun's tomb, which lies at the north end of the park), Lu Xun was himself deliberately never a member of the Communist Party. One can only imagine what his scathing pen would have had to say about China's current headlong rush into capitalism.
At the eastern end of the park is a memorial hall devoted to his life, the Lu Xun Jinianguan. The main exhibit room on the second floor displays his many books and old photographs, as well as his hat, goatskin gown, and death mask. Signs are in English. A bookstore here sells English-language copies of some of his most famous works, such as The Story of Ah Q. A 10-minute walk east of the park, Lu Xun's Former Residence is a three-story brick house where he lived from 1933 to his death, and is still largely decorated as it was then. Exhibits here include an original writing brush as well as a clock marking his exact time of death on October 19, 1936: 5:25am.