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

Class Year


Document Type

Creative Writing

Date of Creation

Summer 2022

Department 1



Book Description

Chen Zi-Ang (courtesy name Bo-Yu, 659–700 CE) 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, 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 CE, 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 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 Chen Zi-Ang and Rivolia Chen Xiao-Yu (2000 CE–), a poet, as well as an author, a scholar, an English translator, and an organizer of cultural-spiritual China activities 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 Chen Zi-Ang, a “tragic and heroic figure" (Ou Li-chuan) whose soul lives on for eternity. The first part is a biography and a chronology of Chen Zi-Ang 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 Chen Zi-Ang’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 Chen Zi-Ang 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, Chen Zi-Ang 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 Chen Zi-Ang and to spread it massively around the whole world during her best endeavors to carry on the mission of Chen Zi-Ang.

Book Description in Traditional Chinese Original:


陳子昂(字伯玉,公元659年-700年)乃中世華夏(英文:Medieval China;又稱中古中國等等)文人、詩人、學者、兩度入獄者、烈士。道教信仰與民間信仰之一,是尊陳子昂為射洪土神與蜀土神。在其短暫人生中,陳子昂奉儒學,而虔信道教,並長期演繹華夏文化與精神中,俠之原型。公元684年,陳子昂進士及第,為秘書省正字等小官。陳子昂秉「勇猛直率」(《華西都市報》語)精神,自云「不顧萬死」,宣告「孤直者,眾邪之所憎」,屢冒酷刑、殘殺之險,就酷吏酷刑、貧民生存危機、需要政治改良、宗教營建工程過量、請釋清白獄囚等等議題,諫「明主與暴君」(李古寅、彭華杰語)武則天。因受與「逆黨」政治有染之不實指控,陳子昂以病弱之軀,入獄年餘,親歷獄中「暴虐」(曾軍語)。數年後,陳子昂病重期間,再因政治迫害,數遭抬走惡意審問,再度被捕,在獄「遇害」(杜甫語)。如本書所考:不久,陳子昂妻高氏,像亦隨之而去,其身故之因,看來與陳子昂殉道,有重大關聯。



Written in part for ENG 205: Introduction to Creative Writing