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Chinese Literature
Shaoshi shanfang bicong 少室山房筆叢


Shaoshi shanfang bicong 少室山房筆叢 is a collection of essays on history books and historiography written by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Hu Yinglin 胡應麟 (1551-1602), courtesy name Yuanrui 元端, later Mingrui 明瑞, style Shiyangsheng 石羊生 or Shaoshi shanren 少室山人. He came form Lanxi 蘭溪, Zhejiang, and obtained his juren degree in 1576. Because all attempts at higher qualification failed, he decided to dedicate his life to literary and historical studies, and became famous as a colleague of the writer Wang Shizhen 王世貞. Hu's collected writings are called Shaoshi shanfang leigao 少室山房類稿. He also wrote a poetry critique, Shisou 詩藪.
His collection Bicong consists of a main part (Zhengji 正集) of 32 juan and a supplementary part (Xuji 續集) of 16 juan. The first part is divided into twelve chapters in which he discusses selected issues of ancient literature in general as well as issues in collecting books, historical criticism, origin and importance of the "Masters and philosophers", forged books, selected chronicles (Zhushu jinian 竹書紀年, Yizhoushu 逸周書, Mu Tianzi zhuan 穆天子傳, and Sanfen 三墳), novellas with history background (xiaoshuo 小說, like Sanguozhi yanyi 三國志演義 and Shuihuzhuan 水滸傳), authors and actors in history, miscellaneous matters in historiography, Daoist writings (daojing 道經) and magicians (fangshi 方士), and Buddhist writings and writers.
The supplementary part focuses in individual writings and evaluates them, mainly Yang Shenzhi's 楊慎之 Danqian yulu 丹鉛餘錄 and Yilin fashan 藝林伐山.
Each chapter is headed by an introduction in which Hu Yingling explained his aims. He quotes from an wide range of different sources and dicussed them on a very sophisticated level. Of great interest is his chapter on forgeries of all genres (Sibu zhengwei 四部正偽), but also his many remarks on literature of the mixed genre between fiction and history. He provides many quotations of rare texts and approaches them also in a theoretical way by dividing them into the six types zhiguai 志怪, chuanqi 傳奇, zalu 雜錄, congtan 叢談, bianding 辨訂 and zhengui 箴規. This classification is also helpful for so-called "brush-notes" texts (biji 筆記). Zhiguai were, according to his definition, texts in which popular stories (chuanwen 傳聞 "hearsay") were recorded, chuanqi such written with literary intentions. The chapter Zhuang Yue weitan 莊岳委談, in which he quotes extensively from theatre plays, is important for the history of literature, but also includes explanations of literary expression not found elsewhere, like the term xisun 細酸 that was used during the Yuan period instead of xiucai 秀才.
The book was first printed in 1606. The most popular edition is that of the Guangya Printing House 廣雅書局 from the Guangxu reign 光緒 (1875-1908). In 1958 the Zhonghua Book Company 中華書局 published a modern edition in the series Ming-Qing biji congkan 明清筆記叢刊. It is also included in the imperial collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書.


Chapters
正集 Zhengji
經籍會通 四卷 Jingji huitong
古書占畢 六卷 Gushu zhanbi
九流緒論 三卷 Jiuliu xulun
四部正偽 四卷 Sibu zhengwei
三墳補逸 二卷 Sanfen buyi
二酉綴遺 三卷 Eryou chuoyi
華陽博議 二卷 Huayang boyi
莊岳委談 二卷 Zhuang Yue weitan
玉壺遐覽 四卷 Yuhu xialan
雙樹幻鈔 三卷 Shuangshu youchao
續集 Xuji
丹鉛新錄 八卷 Danqian xinlu
藝林學山 八卷 Yilin xueshan

Sources: Yin Honghong 尹恭弘 (1986), "Shaoshi shanfang bicong 少室山房筆叢", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo wenxue 中國文學 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 2, p. 702. ● Wu Feng 吳楓 (ed. 1987), Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Jilin: Changchun wenshi chubanshe), p. 124. ● Zhu taiyan 朱太巖 (1988), "Shaoshi shanfang congtan 少室山房筆叢", in Zhao Jihui 趙吉惠, Guo Hou'an 郭厚安 (ed.), Zhonguo ruxue cidian 中國儒學辭典 (Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe), p. 457. ● Zheng Yunbo 鄭雲波 (ed 1992), Zhongguo guidai xiaoshuo cidian 中國古代小說辭典 (Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe), p. 468. ● Wu Feng 吳楓 (ed. 1994), Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Wenxue 文學卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), p. 79. ● Ma Meixin 馬美信 (1996), "Shaoshi shanfang bicong 少室山房筆叢", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城 (ed.), Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Yishu 藝術卷 (Shanhai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), p. 245. ● Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (ed. 1996), Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, p. 2029.
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

February 18, 2016 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail