An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Wu-qiyan jinti shichao 五七言今體詩鈔

Aug 18, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Wu-qiyan jinti shichao 五七言今體詩鈔 is an anthology of regular-style poems (lüshi 律詩) from the Tang 唐 (618-907) and Song Wu-qiyan jinti shichao 五七言今體詩鈔 periods. It was compiled by Yao Nai 姚鼐(1732-1815), who also compiled the collection Gu wenci leizuan 古文辭類纂. The book has a length of 18 juan and discerns poems according to the length of verses, namely five-syllable (wuyan lüshi 五言律詩), and seven-syllable poems (qiyan lüshi 七言律詩). It thus consists of two parts with two different titles, namely Wuyan jinti shichao 五言今體詩鈔 (fascicles 1-9), and Qiyan jinti shichao 七言今體詩鈔 (10-18). The expression jinti 今體 “modern” is a distinction to so-called “old poems” (gushi 古詩) written earlier than the Tang period. The collection includes 560 five-syllable poems of 87 writers (all from the Tang period), and 411 seven-syllable poems of 68 persons.

The impetus for the compilation was the fact that the standard collection Gushixuan 古詩選 of Wang Shizhen 王士禛 did not include ”modern” poetry, and collection on such were relatively scarce and dispersed. Moreover, such collections suffered from clerical errors. Yao Nai, who belonged to the Tongcheng School of literature (Tongchengpai 桐城派), laid stress on a spirit of refinery in simplicity, and less on patterns and sound. The collection of Yao Nai was the first who elevated Li Bai 李白 (701-762) and Du Fu 杜甫 (712-770) to a level of fame hitherto not seen and which overshadowed fine writers like Wang Wei 王維 (c. 699—761) and Meng Haoran 孟浩然 (689-740). Yet the anthology also initiated a novel interest for regular-style poetry during the Song period, which is often seen as the climax of lyric-metre-style poetry (ci 詞).

The collection was first printed in Jinling 金陵 in 1798, and was several reprinted in enlarged or abbreviated shape during the 19th century. The anthology is also included in the series Sibu beiyao 四部備要.

Qian Zhonglian 錢仲聯 (1986). "Wu-qiyan jinti shichao 五七言今體詩鈔", 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. 2, 996.
Qiao Changfu 喬長阜 (2003). "Wu-qiyan jinti shichao 五七言今體詩鈔", in Bian Xiaoxuan 卞孝萱, ed. Tangdai wenxue baike cidian 唐代文學百科辭典 (Beijing: Hanyu da cidian chubanshe), 1067.
Sun Qin’an 孫琴安 (2002). "Tongchengpai shixuan de jingdian: Pingjie Yao Nai de Jinti shichao 桐城派詩選的精典——評介姚鼐的《今體詩抄》", Gudian wenxue zhishi 古典文學知識, 2002 (3): 87-90.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1994). Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Vol. Wenxue 文學卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 71.