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Chinese Literature
Shenyiji 神異記 "Stories of Gods and Freaks of Nature"


The Shenyiji 神異記 "Stories of gods and freaks" is an early collection of stories compiled by the Jin period 晉 (265-420) scholar Wang Fu 王浮, who was a Daoist master living during the reign of Emperor Hui 晉惠帝 (r. 289-306). He was libationer (jijiu 祭酒, i.e. Chancellor) of the National University (taixue 太學) and is credited with the authorship of the book Laozi huahu jing 老子化胡經 that was instrumentalized to degrade the rival religion of Buddhism as a branch of Daoism. The original Shenyiji is long lost and was reconstructed on the base of fragments quoted in the encyclopedias Taiping yulan 太平御覽, Taiping guangji 太平廣記, Shilei fu zhu 事類賦註 and Taiping huanyu ji 太平寰宇記. The Taiping yulan is the only source saying that Wang Fu was the author of the Shenyiji. The book talked about immortals, the places where they lived, and discerned between several categories of immortals.
The Shenyiji is included in the collection Baishi jizhuan 稗史集傳 as well as in Lu Xun's 魯迅 Gu xiaoshuo gouchen 古小說鉤沉, where 8 fragments are assembled, three of which seen to be relatively complete stories.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2169. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

Chinese literature according to the four-category system

October 3, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail