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Yuejueshu 越絕書

Jul 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Yuejueshu 越絕書 "End of the kingdom of Yue" is a history of the regional state of Yue 越 during the Eastern Zhou period 東周 (770-221 BCE). The 19-juan long book was compiled by the Han-period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) writer Yuan Kang 袁康 (fl. 40 CE) and revised by Wu Ping 吳平.

It is written not in the style of an historical report but rather like a history novel. It provides nevertheless valuable historial material of the region of Yue, the modern provinces of Zhejiang and southern Jiangsu. The original text consisted of 8 "inner reports" (neiji 内記) and 17 "outer reports" (waiji 外記) of which 5 chapters were already lost in the 10th century. The main part deals with the reign of King Goujian 句踐 (r. 496-465) who made the state of Yue a powerful player in the southeast of China.

The oldest surviving print is that from the Shuangbo Studio 雙柏堂 from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) which is included in the series Sibu congkan 四部叢刊. The Yuejushu was reprinted, along with a commentary, in 1956 by the Shangwu Press 商務印書館.

There is an English translation by Olivia Milburn (2010), The Glory of Yue: An Annotated Translation of the Yuejue shu (Leiden: Brill).

Table 1. Contents of the Yuejueshu 越絕書
1. 越絕外傳本事 Waizhuan: Benshi
2. 越絕荊平王內傳 Jing Pingwang neizhuan
3. 越絕外傳記吳地傳 Waizhuanji: Wudizhuan
4. 越絕吳內傳 Wu neizhuan
5. 越絕計倪內經 Ji Ni neijing
6. 越絕請糴內傳 Qingdi neizhuan
7. 越絕外傳紀策考 Waizhuanji: Cekao
8. 越絕外傳記范伯 Waizhuanji: Fan Bo
9. 越絕內傳陳成恒 Neizhuan: Chen Chenheng
10. 越絕外傳記〔越〕地傳 Waizhuanji: Yuedizhuan
11. 越絕外傳計倪 Waizhuan: Ji Ni
12. 越絕外傳記吳王占夢 Waizhuanji: Wu wang zhan meng
13. 越絕外傳記寶劍 Waizhuanji: Baojian
14. 越絕內經九術 Neijing: Jiushu
15. 越絕外傳記軍氣 Waizhuanji: Junqi
16. 越絕外傳枕中 Waizhuan: Zhenzhong
17. 越絕外傳春申君 Waizhuan: Chunshen Jun
18. 越絕德序外傳記 Dexu waizhuanji
19. 越絕篇敘外傳記 Pianxu waizhuanji
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