An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Qingshi biecai ji 清詩別裁集

Aug 22, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Qingshi biecai ji 清詩別裁集, original title Guochao shi biecai ji 國朝詩別裁集, is a collection of regular poems (shi 詩) of the early Qing period 清 (1644-1911) compiled by Shen Deqian 沈德潛 (1673-1769), who also compiled a collection of old poems, Gushiyuan 古詩源.

The anthology has a length of 36 juan and includes 3,952 poems of 996 writers. It was finished in 1757 and first printed two years later, with a reprint of the same edition in 1760. In 1757, an enlarged edition (zengdingben 增訂本) was printed. In the same year, the Qianlong Emperor 乾隆帝 (r. 1736-1795) ordered the Nanshufang 南書房 to produce an abbreviated edition of 32 juan. In this edition, some authors were, for political reasons, completely sorted out, such as Qian Qianyi 錢謙益 (1582-1664), Wu Weiye 吳偉業 (1609-1672), Gong Dingzi 龔鼎孳 (1616-1673) and Dai Shiming 戴名世 (1653-1713).

The poems selected were, according to the preface, expressing “gentleness and honesty” (wenrou dunhou 溫柔敦厚), while “fancy and flowery" (tubian fuhua 徒辨浮華) , or “yelling” (jiaohua 叫號) poems or such reminding a boudoir (xianglian 香奩, e.g. Wang Cihui’s 王次回 Yiyu ji 疑雨集) were not included. This was also true for poems of Ming 明 (1368-1644) loyalists (yilao shi 遺老詩). Because Shen Deqian was very fond of Tang-period 唐 (618-907) poems, many of the pieces he selected show traces and influence of the writers from that period.

All editions begin with the principles of compilation (liyan 例言), followed by short biographies of all authors. All poems are briefly commented. The 36-fascicle edition was partially reprinted in 1975 by the Zhonghua Shuju 中華書局. This edition focuses on social aspects, and presents poems related to that topic, for instance, Wu Weiye’s Yonghegong ci 永和宮詞, Gu Mei’s 顧湄 (fl. 1653) Ganhuai 感懷, Zheng Shiyuan’s 鄭世元 (1671-1728) Guanzhen yao 官賑謠, Wu Jiaji’s 吳嘉紀 (1618-1684) Qiqian xing 一錢行 or Zhu Yizun’s 朱彝尊 (1629-1709) Yue Zhongwuwang mu 岳忠武王墓.

The anthology is very important because it includes quite a few poems that are only preserved in this collection.

Guo Kangsong 郭康松, Li Caixia 李彩霞 (2009). "Cong qingding ben Shiji biecai ji kan Qianlong de wenhua xintai 從欽定本《清詩别裁集》看乾隆的文化心態", Hubei Daxue xuebao (Zhexue shehui kexue ban) 湖北大學學報(哲學社會科學版), 2009 (1): 104-109.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 2835.
Ma Yazhong 馬亞中 (1986). "Qingshi biecai ji 清詩別裁集", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Zhongguo wenxue 中國文學 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 642.
Wang Honglin 王宏林 (2009a). "Qingshi biecai ji xuanshi zongzhi yu gediao xingling zhi zheng 《清詩别裁集》選詩宗旨與格調性靈之爭", Nanyang Shifan Xueyuan xuebao (Shehui kexue ban) 南陽師範學院學報(社會科學版), 2009 (2): 67-71.
Wang Honglin 王宏林 (2009b). "Shen Deqian Qingshi biecai ji banben shuping 沈德潛《清詩别裁集》版本述評", Ningxia Daxue xuebao (Renwen shehui kexue ban) 寧夏大學學報(人文社會科學版), 2009 (3): 65-68.
Wang Wei 王煒 (2006). "Qingshi biecai ji yanjiu 《清詩别裁集》研究", Changjiang xueshu 長江學術, 2006 (4): 171-172.
Wang Wei 王煒 (2007). "Gediao dui shenyun de jianrong: Cong Qingshi biecai ji xuan Wang Shizhen shi kan Shen Deqian de gediaoshuo 格調對神韻的兼容———從《清詩别裁集》選王士禛詩看沈德潛的“格調說”", Wuhan Daxue xuebao (Renwen kexue ban) 武漢大學學報(人文科學版), 2007 (4): 498-502.
Zhai Hui 翟惠 (2011). "Shen Deqian Qingshi biecai ji de jiazhi yu yingxiang 沈德潛《清詩别裁集》的價值和影響", Shanxi Datong Daxue xuebao (Shehui kexue ban) 山西大同大學學報(社會科學版), 2011 (2): 59-62.