An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Guolao tanyuan 國老談苑

Oct 19, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Guolao tanyuan 國老談苑 "The Garden of Discussions of the Elders of the State", also called Guolao xiantan 國老閑談, is a collection of stories compiled by the Song period 宋 (960-1279) scholar Wang Junyu 王君玉, style Yimen yinsou 夷門隱叟. The bibliography Zhizhai shulu jieti 直齋書錄解題 does not mention his family name but calls him Yimen Junyu 夷門君玉. In this bibliography and the bibliographic chapter Yiwenzhi 藝文志 in the official dynastic history Songshi 宋史 the length of the book is given as 2 juan "scrolls", and the name as Guolao xiantan, but the Siku quanshu zongmu tiyao 四庫全書總目提要 calls it Guolao tanyuan 國老談苑 and calls the author Wang Junyu, yet without providing evidence for this assumption. The book includes stories from the court of the emperors Taizu 宋太祖 (r. 960-975), Taizong 宋太宗 (r. 976-997) and Zhenzong 宋真宗 (r. 997-1022) of the Song dynasty. The text is heavily tendentious and criticizes many courtiers like Tao Gu 陶穀 and praises others like Tian Xi 田錫. Nevertheless the stories are a helpful source for the history of the early Song period. It is to be found in the reprint series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Baichuan xuehai 百川學海, Xu baichuan xuehai 續百川學海, Shuofu 說郛, Xuejin taoyuan 學津討原 and Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe, vol. 2, p. 2147.