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Chinese Literature
Yingxue congshuo 螢雪叢說 "Dense Talks Bright as Glowworms and Snow"


The Yingxue congshuo 螢雪叢說 "Dense talks bright as glowworms and snow" is a biji 筆記 "brush notes" style book written by the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) scholar Yu Cheng 俞成, courtesy name Yu Yuande 俞元德. He came from Dongyang 東陽 (modern Jinhua 金華, Zhejiang) and failed to pass the state examination. He therefore dediced, aged more than fourty, to study literature and to note down his thoughts that shone like "reflections of snow and a bag full of glowworms" (nang ying ying xue 囊螢映雪). A book based on these reflections was able, he said, to demonstrate that his scholarship was still brilliant and his wit still sharp. The 2 juan "scrolls" long book therefore speaks a lot about the difficulties of learning and the preparation for the state examinations. Yu Cheng discusses historiography, exegesis, poetry, prayers, offering texts, rhapsodies, phonology and the composition of poems, and about competent persons at the imperial court that were underrated by historians, and many other themes of relevance to education, scholarship and the life of state officials, all in all sixty chapters. The compilers of the imperial collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書 criticized Yu Cheng's book for its failure to understand great matters. It is nevertheless an important source for the analysis of Song period scholars‘ preparation for official career.
The Yingxue congshuo is included in the collectanea Baichuan xuehai 百川學海, Xu baichuan xuehai 續百川學海, Baihai 稗海, Jinhua congshu 金華叢書, Ruxue jing'wu 儒學警悟, Shuofu 說郛 and Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編.


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. 1962.
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

August 18, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail