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Chinese Literature
Xiaolin 笑林 "Forest of Humour"


The Xiaolin 笑林 "Forest of Humour" is an early collection of stories written by the Wei period 曹魏 (220-265) scholar Handan Chun 邯鄲淳, also called Handan Zhu 邯鄲竺, courtesy name Handan Zishu 邯鄲子叔 or Handan Zili 邯鄲子禮, who came from Yingchuan 穎川 (modern Yuxian 禹縣, Henan). He was a famous writer and poet. The most important essay of him is the tomb inscription Xiaonü Cao E bei 孝女曹娥碑. When Cao Pi 曹丕 became emperor of the Wei dynasty (as Emperor Wen 魏文帝, r. 220-226) Handan Chun was appointed erudite supervising secretary (boshi jishizhong 博士給事中). His collection Xiaolin was originally 3 juan "scrolls" long, of which only fragments have survived. It included humorous stories of contemporary persons and was clearly influenced by popular stories of that time. The most famous of these were Hanshi laoren 漢世老人, Churen yinxing 楚人隱形, Zhi changgan zhe ru chengmen 執長竿者入城門, Jiayi zhengdou 甲乙戰鬬 or Churen you dan shanji zhe 楚人有擔山雞者. The stories mock about the simplicity of men or the narrow-mindedness of avarice. The book seems still to have existed during the Song period 宋 (960-1279). The Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ma Guohan 馬國翰 collected fragments surviving as quotations in other books and compiled the collectaneum Yuhan shanfang jiyi shu 玉函山房輯佚書. The Xiaolin is also included in Lu Xun's 魯迅 story collection Gu xiaoshuo gouchen 古小說鉤沉.

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