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Chinese Literature
Guwenyuan 古文苑 "The Garden of Ancient Literature"


The Guwenyuan 古文苑 "Garden of ancient literature" is a literary anthology compiled by an unknown person during the Tang period 唐 (618-907). It was discovered in a Buddhist temple by the Song period 宋 (960-1279) scholar Sun Zhu 孫洙 (1032-1080). It appears that most poems of the Guwenyuan are not included in other early anthologies like the Wenxuan 文選, or in biographical sources. The Southern Song period scholar Han Yuanji 韓元吉 (1118-1190?) revised the book and arranged it in 9 juan "scrolls". It was printed in 1232 by Zhang Qiao 章樵, together with a commentary, at a size of 21 juan.
The Guwenyuan includes 260 poems from the Zhou 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE) to the Southern Dynasties period 南朝 (420~589). The poems are divided into 20 different categories. The print neither the condition of the poems is very excellent, yet the Guwenyuan is an important source of otherwise not recorded poems. The older print from the Chunxi reign 淳熙 (1174-1189) in 9 juan was reprinted in 1809 by Master Sun 孫氏, the version of Zhang Qiao with the commentary had already been reprinted in 1482. The Guwenyuan is included in the collectanea Sibu congkan 四部叢刊 and Shoushange congshu 守山閣叢書.

The Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Sun Xingyan 孫星衍 collected a lot of poems from bronze inscriptions, biographies, local chronicles and other books and compiled a kind of supplement to the Guwenyuan, the 20 juan long Xu guwenyuan 續古文苑. It was printed in 1807 and is, like the Guwenyuan itself, included in the series Wanyou wenku 萬有文庫.


Source: Bai Huawen 白化文 (1986). "Guwenyuan 古文苑", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo wenxue 中國文學, vol. 1, p. 195. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.

Chinese literature according to the four-category system

May 14, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail