Mao Dun's Former Residence

Historic Building in Drum Tower & Dongcheng North

The lack of English captions is frustrating, but this small and unassuming museum does at least give visitors the chance to stroll around a trapped-in-time courtyard residence. Mao Dun was the pen name of Shen Yanbing (1896–1981), who was born into an elite family in Zhèjiāng province but educated in Běijīng. He lived at the back courtyard here from 1974 until his death.

In 1920, he helped found the Literary Study Society, an association promoting literary realism. Mao Dun joined the League of Left Wing Writers in 1930, becoming solidly entrenched in the bureaucracy after the communists came to power. He lay low during the Cultural Revolution, but briefly returned to writing in the 1970s. His best-known works are Spring Silkworms (1932) and Midnight (1934). Look for the well-used 1940s fridge, standing in a glass case in the back courtyard.