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Chinese Literature
Qianfulun 潛夫論 "Comments of a Recluse"

The Qianfulun 潛夫論 "Comments of a Recluse" is a philosophical and political tractate written by the Later Han period 後漢 (25-220 CE) scholar Wang Fu 王符. Wang did not want to climb the ladder of official career but preferred to live a live in retirement as the recluse scholar (qianfu 潛夫), hence the name of his book. The Qianfulun is 36 chapters long which are arranged in 10 juan "scrolls". It criticized much of the common social values of his time. Instead, Wang Fu stressed, the true man had to look for the basics and not for decorations, and he had to live a life of austerity. A ruler had to respect his people and should push down the arbitrariness of local administators. The emperor should select worthy advisors and smash the power of the local magnates and the mighty families. In the sphere of metaphysics Wang Fu believed that a common originary breath (yuanqi 元氣) is penetating all things on earth, including humans.
The Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Wang Jipei 汪繼培 has written a commentary, the Qianfulun jian 潛夫論箋.
The most important edition of the Qianfulun is that in the reprint series Sibu congkan 四部叢刊. In 1979 the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局 published a modern edition, including a commentary written by Zhao Duo 趙鐸.
There is a partial translation by Margaret J. Pearson (1989), Wang Fu and the Comments of a Recluse, Tempe: Center for Asian Studies, and studies by Anne Behnke (1986), The Discourse of an Obscure Man: A Study of Han Lun, Ph. D. diss. University of Michigan, and Lily Hwa (1981), translation of Wang Fu, chapter "Social Relations", in: Patricia Ebrey (ed.), Chinese Civilization and Society: A Sourcebook, New York: The Free Press.

Source: Jin Chunfeng 金春峰 (1987). "Qianfulun 潛夫論", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhexue 哲學, pp. 682-683. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.

1.讚學 Zanxue In praise of learning (translated by Margaret Pearson)
2.務本 Wuben Attending to the basics (translated by Margaret Pearson)
3.遏利 Eli Repressing greed
4.論榮 Lunrong On glory
5.賢難 Xiannan Difficulties of worthies
6.明闇 Ming'an On clear sight and blindness
7.考績 Kaoji Examining merit
8.思賢 Sixian Thinking of worthies (translated by Margaret Pearson)
9.本政 Benzheng The basis of government (translated by Margaret Pearson)
10.潛歎 Qiantan The problem of dissimulation
11.忠貴 Zhonggui Valuing loyalty (translated by Margaret Pearson)
12.浮侈 Fuyi On excessive luxury (translated by Margaret Pearson)
13.慎微 Shenwei On scrupulous attention to details (translated by Anne Behnke, PhD)
14.實貢 Shigong On recommendations of substance (translated by Margaret Pearson)
15.班祿 Banlu On salaries
16.述赦 Shushe Amnesties (translated by Margaret Pearson)
17.三式 Sanshi Three models (translated by Margaret Pearson)
18.愛日 Airi On the grudging of days (translated by Margaret Pearson)
19.斷訟 Duansong On concluding litigation
20.衰制 Aizhi Declining order
21.勸將 Quanjiang On generals' powers
22.救邊 Jiubian On the defense of frontiers
23.邊議 Bianyi On frontier problems
24.實邊 Shibian On the population of frontier areas
25.卜列 Bulie On divination (translated by Anne Behnke)
26.正列 Zhenglie On witchcraft (translated by Anne Behnke)
27.相列 Xianglie On physiognomy (translated by Anne Behnke)
28.夢列 Menglie On the interpretation of dreams (translated by Anne Behnke)
29.釋難 Shinan Elucidation of some difficulties
30.交際 Jiaoji On social relationships (translated by Lily Hwa)
31.明忠 Mingzhong On the ruler's enlightenment and his officials' loyalty
32.本訓 Benxun Instruction on the roots (translated by Margaret Pearson and by Anne Behnke)
33.德化 Dehua On the transforming power of virtue (translated by Anne Behnke)
34.五德志 Wudezhi On the virtues and goals of the Five Emperors
35.志氏姓 Zhishixing On the names of clans and families
36.敘錄 Xulu Summary
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

November 15, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail