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Chinese Literature
Qiyanlu 啟顏錄 "Tales to Crack a Smile"


The Qiyanlu 啟顏錄 "Tales to crack a smile" is an early collection of humorous stories compiled by the Sui period 隋 (581-618) scholar Hou Bai 侯白. It is often described as a sequel to the book Xiaolin 笑林 by the Jin period 晉 (265-420) writer Handan Chun 邯鄲淳. The stories are mostly derived from ancient writings of the "masters" (zi 子) or from historiographic writings, but some are also new compilations. The language of the Qiyanlu is very simple and the stories written in a quite superficial way, sometimes even in an exaggerated manner. The Qiyanlu was therefore not among the books in wider circulation and was lost soon. Fragments of it are nevertheless surviving and can be found in the collectanea Xu baichuan xuehai 續百川學海 and Shuofu 說郛 as well as quotations in the encylcopedia Taiping guangji 太平廣記. The modern scholar Wang Liqi 王利器 had collected all fragments and has published them in his book Lidai xiaohua ji 歷代笑話集. Some stories date from the Tang period 唐 (618-907) and must have been added later.

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