Xu Zhimo came from a wealthy merchant family. Therefore, for him, the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 was rather connected to a revival of trade and banking business of the family, including arms deals. Formed on modern schools of the province, he then first attended a college in Shanghai, in Beijing it to ultimately end up at the Institute for Law and Policy at the University of Beijing.
Barely 21 years old, he was an arranged by the two families a connection with Zhang Youyi (张幼仪). A year later, their first son came into the world, in 1922 a second. The marriage, however, was divorced a few months later.
1918 sat Xu Zhimo his studies in the United States and continued where she earned at Columbia University, a master's degree in political science. Two years later he moved to London, where he was preparing a PhD at the School of Economics. But eventually he moved to King's College, Cambridge, to deal with literature. This phase of his life come alongside translations also his first poems.
After his return to China in 1922 he took over in 1923, first teaching at Nankai University in 1924 and Beijing University. Later he worked as editor of the newspaper Beijing Morning News, and takes, not only in this context, against communism, a critical attitude.
1926 married Xu Zhimo in second marriage Lù Xiǎomàn (陆小曼) and shortly thereafter became first confronted with the harshness of life: Unrest in Zhejiang province forced the family to leave the lands of their parents, they failed Xu Zhimo also any further financial support, and the publication of a newly founded literary magazine had to be discontinued for financial reasons. These impressions and the unrest and poverty embossed, social conditions generally resulted in Xu Zhimo to depression. From then on, after his marriage with Lu Xiaoman kriselte, he spent much time traveling abroad and locally with sinister portrayals of the critical living conditions.
In 1931, he died in a plane crash on the way from Nanking to Peking killed.