Professor's Enigma: His Psychology Text Translated, Published in China


As far as Fullerton College psychology professor James Lugo is concerned, it's still something of a mystery.

This year, two separate publishing houses in northern and eastern China published their own translated versions of Lugo's introductory psychology textbook, "Living Psychology."

Heilongjian People's Publishing House published the textbook for use in such prestigious universities as Shanghai Jiao Tong University, East China Normal University and Fudan University; Kweichow People's Publishing Cooperative published "Living Psychology" for universities in the nation's interior.

And considering that China does not pay book royalties and had at least 200 American introductory psychology books to choose from, Lugo is puzzled:

"What is it in this book that would encourage a Chinese professor to have his or her students use this particular book? There has to be something in there that is congruent with their culture."

Lugo first learned that "Living Psychology" had been selected for translation by two separate groups of Chinese university scholars two years ago. And he has a few theories on why his textbook was chosen for use in China, which only recently started teaching psychology.

China, he said, is a culture based on tradition--of examining your past and knowing your roots. His book "emphasizes psychoanalysis, which reflects looking back at your past and your ancestors."

China is also "in the midst of a revolution, shifting from the collective orientation to a more individualized orientation. And in my book, I emphasize the humanistic orientation of psychology, one based on improving the quality of life and seeking worthwhile goals in life."

Lugo, 62, has taught at Fullerton College 29 years and is a major contributor to the Encyclopedia of Psychology, the primary reference in the field.

More news from China: Lugo's "Human Development," a more advanced psychology textbook, also has been translated into Chinese by Heilongjian People's Publishing House and is now in press.

And his latest text, "Living Psychology: A Lifespan Approach" is currently being translated by the same two groups of Chinese scholars for publication in 1991.

Lugo, however, won't receive a dime in royalties.

As far as he knows, only the Encyclopedia Britannica receives royalties from the Chinese. And in that case, he said, the encyclopedia folks appealed directly to the premier of China, who personally approved payment. Laughed Lugo: "That's out of my league completely."

In corresponding with the Chinese scholars who translated his book, Lugo said, he was told that if they had to pay royalties the students would never be able to afford to buy textbooks. In fact, Lugo said, the Chinese versions of "Living Psychology" are made of thin onion-skin paper: "That's all they can afford to do."

That doesn't mean the Chinese scholars aren't appreciative.

Lugo has received numerous "little gifts" from them--paintings, scarves and decorations. "One professor even sent me (Chinese) money. I have no idea what it's worth. It has to be a token thing, almost symbolic.

"They seem to be very grateful that I accepted what they had done."

Indeed, the Chinese professors also have sent Lugo cards for his birthday, Christmas and New Year's. And one vacationing professor from the interior of China even stopped by say hello.

"It was a very touching thing, really."

Koontz Telepic: Pam Dawber and Lee Horsley will star in the TV-movie version of Orange County author Dean R. Koontz's suspense thriller "The Face of Fear" on CBS at 9 p.m. Sunday. The best-selling author describes "Face of Fear" as the story of two people (Dawber and Horsley) who are trapped in a Manhattan high-rise "by a psychopathic killer who cuts off all the elevators and staircases and leaves no way out except to climb down the face of it."

Koontz, who hasn't been pleased with some previous screen versions of his novels, says he is "delighted" with the CBS production. He should be: He served as co-executive producer and wound up writing the script himself.

"It looks like a theatrical film," he said. "It's very fast-paced and has really pretty glossy production values."

He also deems the acting "superb," praising in particular Kevin Conroy as the killer: "He's the best psychopath I've seen on film. He makes your blood run cold. He plays it better than I wrote it, actually.

"I really am delighted with it."

Or, put another way: This time around, he said with a laugh, he won't have to call up all his friends the next day to apologize.

Book Signing: Paul Bishop ("Sand Against the Tide") will sign from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Book Carnival, 870 N. Tustin Ave, Orange.

Ranger Talk: San Clemente Park Ranger James Long will present a "photo-musical essay" on the rugged beauty of the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada at 8 tonight at the Laguna Beach Library, 363 Glenneyre St. Free.

Readers' Theater: Author and Los Angeles Times columnist Jack Smith will read with the audience from his newspaper columns at Steve Mellow's Readers' Theater at 7:30 tonight at San Juan Capistrano Regional Library, 31495 El Camino Real. Free.

Factory Readings: Poet Tommy Swerdlow will read at 8 p.m. Monday at the Factory Readings meeting at Casa Palma Restaurant, 122 E. 17th St., Santa Ana. Guitarist Matt McClane also will perform and there will be an open reading at the end of the program. Free.

Independent Writers: Video producer Florence Dann will discuss corporate video production at the meeting of the Orange County section of Independent Writers of Southern California at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Pomona First Federal Savings community room, 17851 17th St., Tustin. Free for members; $10 for non-members.

Silent Comedians: Buena Park author Randy Skretvedt ("Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies") will present an illustrated lecture on silent movie comedians at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Newport Beach Public Library, 856 San Clemente Drive. Free.

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