Rivolia Chen Xiao-Yu (陳瀟玉) '23, Gettysburg College

Class Year


Document Type

Creative Writing

Date of Creation

Summer 2022

Department 1



Chen Zi-Ang (courtesy name Bo-Yu, C.E. 659–700) was a medieval Chinese author, poet, scholar, twice-prisoner, and a martyr. It has been a devotion of the Daoist and the Chinese folk religions to venerate him as the Holy Land Patron of the Shu Area (Sichuan) and his hometown, Shehong. During his brief life, Dr. Chen reverently practiced the cultural-spiritual lineage of Confucianism and was a devout follower of the Daoist religion. He was also a long-term manifester of the Chinese cultural-spiritual archetype of the warrior. Earning his doctorate in 684 C.E., he served in a number of minor official roles, including as an imperial librarian. With his spirit of “courage, fierceness, and frankness" (West China Urban Daily), he declared that “I do not care even if I am to be killed ten thousand times,” and “the lonely and frank are subjected to the hatred from the massive evil,” while repeatedly risking torture and execution to express his disagreement with “the brilliant ruler and the tyrant” (Li Gu-Yin and Peng Hua-Jie) Empress Wu Zetian on such issues as torturers, the use of torture, the sufferings of the impoverished, the need for political reform, the excessiveness of religious construction programs, and the calling for the release of innocent prisoners. Falsely accused of having a political connection with those who were subverting the government, with his illness and infirmities he spent well over a year in a prison where he experienced “brutalities” (Zeng Jun) first-hand. Several years later, while severely ill, the effects of political persecution led to him being carried into several malicious interrogations and getting arrested again, resulting in him being “harmed to death” (Du Fu) in prison. As this book researches and indicates, his wife, Madam Gao, appeared to have passed away shortly after him, which seemed to have strong correlations with Dr. Chen’s martyrdom.

Like a Blossom, a Sword, and a Meteor: The Impassioned Battles, Incarcerations, and Martyrdom of Chen Zi-Ang is an interdisciplinary and intermedia book co-authored in Traditional Chinese by Dr. Chen and Rivolia Chen Xiao-Yu (C.E. 2000–), a traditional Chinese poet, as well as an intermedia author, an interdisciplinary scholar, and an English translator, who also translates this entire book into English. While being enriched by the Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc, Jehanne d’Arc) studies, memorials, and cultural-spiritual embodiments in America and France, this book is divided into three main parts in its best attempt to present Dr. Chen, a “tragic and heroic figure" (Ou Li-chuan) whose soul lives on for eternity. The first part is a biography and a chronology of Dr. Chen that prodigiously integrates the accomplishments of contemporary American psychology on such topics as physical appearance and psychology, physical appearance and society, and personality and developmental psychology. The second part chronologically offers all of Dr. Chen’s 127 preserved poems, a prose-poem, a note, and selected prose in English translation and the Traditional Chinese original. According to Wen Yiduo, some of these poems are praised as “crystalline, limpid, pure, cool, and luminous”; some are “of the profundity and vastness of waters, the loftiness of mountains, and the coolness of autumn breezes”; and some are “transcendent, profound, extending to the remote, lofty, and archaic.” The third division presents the finished parts of Rivolia Chen Xiao-Yu’s film screenplay with Dr. Chen as the protagonist, The Martyrdom of Chen Zi-Ang, as well as her novel, Scarlet Tears on a Golden Branch, with Madam Gao as the protagonist, in English translation and Traditional Chinese original. With his literary-intellectual sophistication and erudition, Dr. Chen the martyr devotedly, passionately, and diligently combated against the absence of learning, the lack of skills, unfairness, injustices, and tyrannies. It has been one of Rivolia Chen Xiao-Yu’s crucial efforts to co-author this book with Dr. Chen and to spread it massively around the whole world during her best endeavors to carry on the mission of Dr. Chen.




Written in part for ENG 205: Introduction to Creative Writing