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Chinese Literature
Yilin 異林 "The Forest of Miracles"


There are two books with the title Yilin 異林 "Forest of miracles", one written by a certain Master Lu 陸氏 during the Jin period 晉 (265-420), and one much later, by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Zhu Mu 朱睦.
Master Lu's book is listed in Wen Tingshi's 文廷式 supplementary bibliographic treatise to the official dynastic history Jinshu 晉書, the Bu Jinshu yiwen zhi 補晉書藝文志, where it is seen among the novellas (xiaoshuo 小説). Wen Tingshi, a Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar, neither records the size of the book nor the date of compilation. The Republican expert Lu Xun 魯迅 was able to detect one fragment of Master Lu's Yilin in the commentary to the biography of Zhong Yao 鍾繇 in the history Sanguozhi 三國志, and in the Song period 宋 (960-1279) encyclopedia Taiping yulan 太平御覽. This fragment of a love story between a female ghost and Zhong Yao is included in Lu's collectaneum Gu xiaoshuo gouchen 古小說鉤沉. Master Lu might be identical with the son of the writer and politician Lu Ji 陸機.
Lu Mu (fl. 1573), courtesy name Zhu Guanfu 朱灌甫, style Xiting xiansheng 西亭先先, was a descendant of Zhu Di 朱棣, Prince of Zhouding and Emperor Chengzu 明成祖 (r. 1402-1424). He was very interested in the Confucian Classics Yijing 易經 "Book of Changes" and Chunqiu 春秋 "Spring and Autumn Annals" and was therefore in 1577 appointed Imperial Family monitor (zongzheng 宗正) in the School for the Imperial Family (zongxue 宗學). He was acquainted with a lot of book collectors and built the library Wanjuan Studio 萬卷堂. His collected writings are called Poshang ji 陂上集. The 16 juan "scrolls" long Yilin has survived. It includes a collection of 42 popular tales with historiographical content, yet on a very narrative and vernacular literary basis.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2166. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

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October 3, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail