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Chinese Literature
Peizi yulin 裴子語林 "Master Pei's Forest of Tales"


The book Yulin 語林 "Forest of tales", also called Peizi yulin 裴子語林 or Pei Qi yulin 裴启語林, is an early collection of stories written by the Eastern Jin period 東晉 (317-420) scholar Pei Qi 裴啓. Pei Qi, courtesy name Pei Rongqi 裴荣期 or Pei Rong 裴期, came from Hedong 河東 (modern Yongji 永濟, Shanxi) and was a famous collector of ancient stories. His Yulin is 2 juan "scrolls" long and includes stories from the Han 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) to the Jin period. It focuses on scholars that had no success in state offices and includes a lot of valuable stories like Wang Dun yu shiru yi xiadu 王敦與世儒議下都, Yang Zhixu dongyue niang jiu 羊稚舒冬月釀酒 or Lu Shiheng yu Pan Anren 陸士衡與潘安仁. The stories provide information about the protagonists' lives, their personal character as well as the social circumstances during that time. The language is very clear and the stories lucidly composed. The stories can therefore not be perceived as novellas because of their literary simplicity. The book was originally 10 juan long but was soon discarded as vain and useless, as is reported in the collection Shishuo xinyu 世說新語. It was already lost during the Song period 宋 (960-1279). Fragments of it quoted in other books were collected during the Song and Yuan 元 (1279-1368) periods. The Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ma Guohan 馬國翰 included the fragment collection of the Peizi yulin in his collectaneum Yuhan shanfang jiyi shu 玉函山房輯佚書. It is also included in Lu Xun's 魯迅 story collection Gu xiaoshuo gouchen 古小說鉤沉. In 1988 the Wenhua yishu press 文化藝術出版社 published a modern edition, commented by Zhou Langjia 周楞伽.

Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2138. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

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September 12, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail