An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Wu-Yue chunqiu 吳越春秋

Jul 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Wu-Yue chunqiu 吳越春秋 "Spring and Autumn of Wu and Yue" is a history of the two southern states of Wu 吳 and Yue 越 during the Spring and Autumn period 春秋 (770-5th cent. BCE). The 10-juan long book was compiled during the Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) by Zhao Ye 趙曄 (early 1st cent. CE).

Although it is traditionally regarded as an historical writing the content makes it rather a history novel. It describes the fight for dominance among the two regional states of Wu and Yue. Although the general facts of this competition is also described in the official and widely read universal history Shiji 史記 the Wu-Yue chunqiu contains a lot of material not included in the Shiji. The Yuan-period 元 (1279-1368) scholar Xu Tianyou 徐天祐 wrote a commentary.

The earliest surviving print was produced in 1309. The version of the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書 is based on this print, while the series Sibu congkan 四部叢刊 has reproduced a Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) print.

Table 1. Contents of the Wu-Yue chunqiu 吳越春秋
1. 吳太伯傳 The Great Earl of Wu
2. 吳王壽夢傳 King Shouchun of Wu
3. 王僚使公子光傳 The story how King Liao sent out the duke's son Guang [to attack Chu]
4. 闔閭內傳 The inner biography of King Helü [of Wu]
5. 夫差內傳 The inner biography of King Fucha [of Wu]
6. 越王無余外傳 The outer biography of King Wuyu of Yue
7. 勾踐入臣外傳 The outer story of King Goujian's calling ministers
8. 勾踐歸國外傳 The outer story of King Goujian's return to Yue
9. 勾踐陰謀外傳 The outer story of King Goujian's secret plannings
10. 勾踐伐吳外傳 The outer story of King Goujian's attack on Wu
Li Shuihai 李水海, ed. (1994). Zhongguo xiaoshuo da cidian 中國小說大辭典, Vol. Xian-Qin zhi Nanbeichao 先秦至南北朝卷 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 262.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 1045.
Ba Zhaoxiang 巴兆祥 (1994). "Wu-Yue chunqiu 吳越春秋", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Vol. Lishi 歷史卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 302.
Tian Shan 田杉 (1991). "Wu-Yue chunqiu 吳越春秋", in Ma Liangchun 馬良春, Li Futian 李福田, ed. Zhongguo wenxue da cidian 中國文學大辭典 (Tianjin: Tianjin renmin chubanshe), Vol. 5, 2948.