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Chinese Literature
Boyizhi 博異志 "Vast Records of Strange Matters"


The Boyizhi 博異志 "Vast records of strange matters" is an early collection of stories compiled by a Tang period 唐 (618-907) scholar called Gushenzi 谷神子 "Master of the God in the Valley". The descriptive bibliography Junzhai dushu zhi 郡齋讀書志 from the Song period 宋 (960-1279) says that he was called Huangu 還古, yet his family name was not known. The Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Hu Yinglin 胡應麟 says that the author was called Zheng Huangu 鄭還古 and was a Tang period poet. Zheng Huangu served as professor in the Directorate of Education (guozi boshi 國子博士) under Emperor Xianzong 唐憲宗 (r. 805-820) and wrote a commentary to the Daodejing 道德經, the Laozi zhigui 老子指歸, which is lost. Ancient bibliographies call the collection Boyizhi, while the collectanea Gujin yishi 古今逸史 and Siku quanshu 四庫全書 call it Boyiji 博異記. The original book seems to have had a size of 3 juan "scrolls" and was lost as soon as the Song period. It included stories about strange events and extraordinary persons of the Tang period. It is written in a lively language and in a very descriptive style, which shows that during that time the genre of chuanqi 傳奇 had already reached a higher level than the stories of the Southern dynasties period 南朝 (420~589). Some of the stories were later expanded in the famous collection Liaozhai zhiyi 聊齋志異.
The surviving parts of the Boyizhi are included in the collectanea Gushi wenfang xiaoshuo 顧氏文房小說, Xu baichuan xuehai 續百川學海, Siku quanshu, Gujin yishi, Tang-Song congshu 唐宋叢書, Wuchao xiaoshuo 五朝小說, Tangren shuohui 唐人說荟, Mishu ershiyi zhong 秘書二十一種, Zengding Han-Wei congshu 增訂漢魏叢書 and Longwei mishu 龍威秘書. A modern edition was published in 1980 by the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局, in a joint edition with the collection Jiyiji 集異記.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2173. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

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September 30, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail