An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Quanyuanshi 全元詩

Sep 7, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Quanyuanshi 全元詩 is a complete collection of regular poems (shi 詩) from the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368), an age normally associated with theatre and aria-style poetry (qu 曲). The collection was compiled by Yang Lian 楊鐮 and was published in 2013 by the Zhonghua Shuju Press 中華書局. It includes more than 140,000 critically commented poems by more than 5,200 writers and has a length of 68 volumes, the last of which is a register.

Earlier collections of Yuan-period regular poetry is scarce. The most important, contemporary collection is Zhang Yu’s 張雨 Juqu waishi Zhenju Xiansheng shiji 句曲外史貞居先生詩集, which is preserved in the series Sibu congkan 四部叢刊, in an edition published by Mao Jin 毛晉 (1599-1659) with the title Yuanren shi zhong shi 元人十種詩, in the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, where it is called Juqu waishi ji 句曲外史集, as well as in Ding Bing’s 丁丙 collection Wulin wangzhe yizhu 武林往哲遺著 with the title Zhenju Xiansheng shiji 貞居先生詩集. However, the collection presents only the poems of one single person.

The huge size of the Quanyuanshi shows how popular regular poems were during the time, and is thus a valuable complement to the collections Quan Yuan sanqu 全元散曲 (solitary arias), Quan Jin-Yuan ci 全金元詞 (lyric-metre-style poetry), Quan Yuan xiqu 全元戲曲 (theatre plays and dramatic arias) and Quanyuanwen 全元文 (prose writings) which all serve as "complete" collections of different literary genres of the Yuan period, or to the collections Quantangshi 全唐詩, Quansongshi 全宋詩 or Quanmingshi 全明詩 which collect regular poems of certain dynastic eras.