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Chinese Literature
Songbai leichao 宋稗類鈔 "Categorized Anthology of Petty Matters from the Song Period"


The Songbai leichao 宋稗類鈔 "Categorized anthology of petty matters from the Song period" is an encyclopedic collection of notes to Song period 宋 (960-1279) poetry (shihua 詩話) compiled by the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) writer Pan Yongyin 潘永因. The 8 juan "scrolls" long book is divided into 59 chapters, with one juan of supplements. According to some bibliographies, there was a version of 36 juan length, with 60 chapters. The Songbai leichao imitates the famous collection Shishuo xinyu 世說新語 and quotes the discussions of Song period scholars to a very wide range of topics. It has been highly recommended for the excellent quality of the language and the clarity and shortness of the paragraphs, so that it can almost be rated as a literary book instead of only an encyclopedia. Unfortunately, Pan does not indicate his sources. The style of Pan's book is exemplarious and has been imitated by later scholars of the Qing period. The stories included in the Songbai leichao in fact also include events taking place in the Tang 唐 (618-907) and the Yuan 元 (1279-1368) periods. The division into chapters with significant titles is very helpful for an overview of the broad topics Pan Yongyin was interested in.
The Songbai leichao is included in the collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書.


Sources:
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2160. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤 (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書, p. 373. Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe.

Chinese literature according to the four-category system

January 15, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail