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Mingji nanlüe 明季南略

Jan 6, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Mingji nanlüe 明季南略 "The southern campaigns during the Ming period" is a history of the Southern Ming dynasty (1644-1661) written by the early Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ji Liuqi 計六奇 (1622-1656), who also wrote the book Mingji beilüe 明季北略.

There are two different versions of the Nanlüe, a manuscript version with a length of 16 juan, and printed version with 18 juan. The most important print versions are a that from the early 19th century made by Bansong Jushi 半松居士 in Liulichang 琉璃廠, a downsized version in the series Shanghai tushu jicheng 上海圖書集成 from 1887, and that by the Shanghai Yinshuguan Press 商務印書館 in the series Wanyou wenku 萬有文庫 and Guoxue jiben congshu 國學基本叢書 from 1936. These print versions suffer from many typing errors that have only been amended in a modern version published on the base of the manuscript versions owned by the Library of the University of Hangzhou 杭州大學圖書館 and that of Cao Datie 曹大鐵. These manuscripts include a preface and some chapters more that are not included in the late Qing print versions.

The Mingji nanlu is a sequel to Ji Liuqi's book Mingji beilu and descibes the history of the Southern Ming dynasty. It begins in 1644 with the suicide of the Chongzhen Emperor 崇禎 (r. 1627-1644) and the proclamation of Prince Fu 福王 in Nanjing 南京 to emperor of the Ming dynasty in 1645, with the reign motto Hongguang 弘光, and reaches down to 1665 with the dead of the Ming loyalist Hong Chengchou 洪承疇 (1593-1665) in Fujian.

The sources used for this book were both official documents as well as orally transmitted history that describes the military campaigns, the resistance against the invading armies of the Manchus, peasant uprisings, and the most important persons of that period of time. The book is a combination of an annalistic style with that of a thematic-biographic style of historiography, with 446 chapters.

Ji Liuqi, as an adherent of the Ming dynasty, describes with great details the history of the various Southern Ming emperors and their flight to escape the advancing armies of the Qing. The Ming loyalist generals like Shi Kefa 史可法 (1602-1645), Zhang Huangyan 張煌言 (1620-1664), or other opponents to the Qing like Zheng Chenggong 鄭成功 (1624-1662), or Zhang Xianzhong 張獻忠 (1606-1647), are vividly described. The book was therefore proscribed under the Qing dynasty and is also listed in the bibliographies Waisheng yizi yinghui shu 外省移諮應毁書目 and Jinshu zongmu 禁書總目, lists of banned books.

This is one of the reasons why the surviving prints are not of a very good quality, as it was only possible to have this book reproduced secretly. The historical value of the Mingji nanlu cannot be overestimated, in spite of several factual errors occurring in the text. It makes use of many unofficial sources and so provides information that can not be extracted from other books or sources. Numerous sources have been lost since, like Du Yinxi's 堵胤錫 (1601-1649) Shisichao shigang 十四朝史綱, Zheng Yuanguang's 鄭元珖 Mingshu 明書, or the Lushi 罏史, Jinan 記難, Duyan wenji 櫝菴文集, or Guo Xiangyun's 郭象雲 Wuwang boqian shimo 武罔播遷始末, Cheng Han's 程翰 Sun Ke wang fan que bai tao shimo 孫可望犯闕敗逃本末, or the book Yueshiji 粵事記.

A modern edition of the Mingji nanlüe has been published in 1984 by the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局, based on the above-mentioned manuscripts.

Sources:
Ding Xiaozhi 丁孝智 (1992). "Mingji nanlüe 明季南略", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城 (ed.), Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Vol. Lishi 歷史 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 331.
Ou Qiaoling 歐巧玲 (2011). "Cong Mingji nanlüe kan Nanming Yongli zhengquan zai Guangxi de huodong 從《明季南略》看南明永歷政權在廣西的活動", Chuancheng 傳承, 2011 (1).
吳楓 Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 496.
Wu Renjing 吳任靜 (2014). "Cong Mingji nanlüe qianxi Nanming xiao wangchao xunsu fuwang de yuanyin 從《明季南略》淺析南明小王朝迅速覆亡的原因", Puyang Zhiye Jishu Xuexuan xuebao 濮陽職業技術學院學報, 2014 (2).
Zhang Pingren 張平仁 (2004). "Mingji beilüe, Mingji nanlüe dui shishi xiaoshuo de cailu 《明季北略》、《明季南略》對时事小說的采錄", Wenxian 文獻, 2004 (7).
Zhongguo fanglüe congshu 中國方略叢書 (Chengwen Publishing), www.chengwen.com.tw/tc/cat/str/guo11.htm.