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Chinese Literature
Zu Taizhi zhiguai 祖台之志怪 "Ghost Stories by Zu Taizhi"


The Zu Taizhi zhiguai 祖台之志怪 "Ghost stories by Zu Taizhi" is an early collection of phantastic stories compiled by the Eastern Jin period 東晉 (317-420) scholar Zu Taizhi 祖台之, courtesy name Zu Yuanchen 祖元辰. There are two other story collections with the same title, one by a Jin period 晉 (265-420) writer called Master Kong 孔, the Kongshi zhiguai 孔氏志怪 and another book from the Later Han period 後漢 (25-220 CE) called Cao Pi zhiguai 曹毗志怪. A book with a similar title is Master Zhi's Zhiguaiji 殖氏志怪記, also from the Later Han period.
Zu Taizhi came from Fanyang 范陽 (modern Zhuoxian 涿縣, Hebei) and was palace attendant (shizhong 侍中) and later Grand Master of Splendid Happiness (guanglu dafu 光禄大夫). He was the ancestor of the scholar Zu Chongzhi 祖沖之 who lived during the Southern Qi period 南齊 (479-502) and is author of the Shuyiji 述異記. The 2 juan "scrolls" long book Zhiguai includes stories of miraculous events, supernatural phenomena or persons with magic powers, a lot of whom are historical persons, like Dongfang Shuo 東方朔, Zhang Hua 張華 or Tao Kan 陶侃. In some stories, a love affair between a ghost or soul and a human being is narrated, like in the tales Chen Kui 陳悝 or Lushan furen 廬山夫人. The language is very rich and attractive. The book as a whole was soon lost, but the Republican scholar Lu Xun 魯迅 was able to assemble 15 surviving fragments in his collectaneum Gu xiaoshuo gouchen 古小說鉤沉. Smaller collections of fragments are to be found in the collections Shuofu 說郛 and Gujin shuobu congshu 古今說部叢書.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2167. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

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October 3, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail