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Chinese Literature
Quesaobian 卻掃編 "Withdrawing with the Broom"


The Quesaobian 卻掃編 "Withdrawing with the broom" is a biji 筆記 "brush notes" style book written by the early Southern Song period scholar Xu Du 徐度, courtesy name Xu Dunli 徐敦立. He came from Gure 穀熟 in the prefecture Yingtian 應天 (modern Shangqiu 商丘, Henan) and was the youngest son of Counsellor-in-chief Xu Churen 徐處仁. After the consolidation of the Southern Song dynasty the family settled down in Wuxing 吳興, Zhejiang. In 1138 Xu Du was made editor in the Palace Library (jiaoshulang 校書郎) and then rose to the post of Vice Director in the Criminal Administration Bureau (duguan yuanwailang 都官員外郎) and finally became Vice Minister of Personnel (libu shilang 吏部侍郎). He says that during his days in Wuxing he had no one to converse with, and therefore dug himself in the family library and began to write down what he had seen and heard in younger years. The title of the 3 juan book points at this time, in which he „closed the outer gate and cleaned the courtyard with the broom“. The book includes stories about the life, actitivies and discourses of court officials in the time between the late years of the Northern Song and the Shaoxing reign of the Southern Song. A small amount of stories is related to pre-Song times. All of these stories were recorded from hearsay, and are not based on written sources, but they are nevertheless quite reliable, except a few errors and stories that must be fables. The compilers of the imperial collectaneum Siku quanshu compare the Quesaobian with Wang Mingqing’s 王明清 Huichenlu 揮麈錄 or Ye Mengde’s 葉夢得 Shilin yanyu 石林燕語. The Quesaobian is included in the collectanea Jindai mishu 津逮秘書, Siku quanshu , Xuejin taoyuan 學津討原, Fanyuebian 反約篇, Rongyuan congshu 榕園叢書, Gushu congkan 古書叢刊, Zeshizhai congshu 擇是居叢書, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編 and Shuofu 說郛.

Source: 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. 1952.
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

August 21, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail