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Chinese Literature
Chunzhu jiwen 春渚紀聞 "Hearsay from the Spring Islet"

The Chunzhu jiwen 春渚紀聞 "Hearsay from the Spring Islet" is a biji 筆記 "brush notes" style book written by the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126) scholar He Wei 何薳 (might also be read He Yuan), courtesy name He Ziyuan 何子遠 or He Zichu 何子楚, style Hanqing laonong 韓青老農 or Dongdu yilao 東都遺老. He came from Pucheng 浦城 (modern Pucheng, Fujian) and lived during the last decades of the Northern Song period. He is known as a brilliant singer and player of the zither. The situation at the imperial court, where the Counsellors Zhang Dun 章惇 and Cai Jing 蔡京 wielded highest power and accumulated a fortune by their authority, caused him to refrain from aspiring an official career. Instead he retired to the village where his father He Qufei 何去非, author of the military treatise He Boshi beilun 何博士備論, was buried. As a "hidden worthy" he studied ancient writings and collected interesting stories about the history of the Song dynasty, and compiled them to a 10 juan "scrolls" long book. The first half includes miscellaneous stories, including ghost stories, stories of retribution of sins (baoying 報應), and phantastic tales, as well as some humorous novellas. One scroll or chapter is dedicated to the live of the poet Su Shi 蘇軾 (also known as Su Dongpo 蘇東坡), quotes from non-published works of him, and tells of his friendship with Qin Shaoyou 秦少游, Liu Gongfu 劉貢父, Huang Luzhi 黃魯直, Chen Wuji 陳無己 and Zhang Wenqian 張文潛. The reason for this dedication to Su Shi is that the latter once recommended He Wei's father He Qufei for an official post. This chapter is very interesting because it gives information on the life of Su Shi that is not found in other sources. The next chapter speaks of Tang 唐 (618-907) and Song period poetry, and includes also some critically revised paragraphs quoted from ancient writings on the zither. The following part provides information about inkstones (yan 硯), and the last chapter narrates stories of Song period masters who cultivated the Daoist art of "cinnabar and herbs" (danyao 丹藥). Some parts of the book are contradicting each other, and differ from statements in other books, like that of the chess player Liu Zhongfu 劉仲甫 who is once called invincible, but of whom it is also said that he was beaten by Zhu Buyi 祝不疑 (or the son of Wang Han 王憨 or Jin Shiming 晉士明, as the book Tieweishan congtan 鐵圍山叢談 says). In spite of these shortcomings, the Chunzhu jiwen is an interesting source of the social life of the literati during the Northern Song period.
It is not known when the Chunzhu jiwen was printed first. A fragmentary version of it was first published by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Chen Jiru 陳繼儒 in his reprint series Baoyantang miji 寶顏堂秘笈. Mao Jin 毛晉 was able to purchase the full version (yet with one page still missing) that is included in his reprint series Jindai mishu 津逮秘書. The Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Lu Wenchao 盧文弨 collected some remaining fragments and published them in the Qunshu shibu 群書拾補. This version was reprinted in Zhang Hanpeng's 張海鵬 Xuejin taoyuan 學津討原. The Chunzhu jiwen is also to be found in the series Songren shuobu congshu 宋元人說部書, Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Pucheng yishu 浦城遺書, Songren xiaoshuo 宋人小說, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編, Shuofu 說郛 and Wuchao xiaoshuo 五朝小說 (in the last two only as an excerpt). In 1981 the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局 published a modern edition with annotations by Zhang Minghua 張明華.

Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe, vol. 2, p. 1951.
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

August 28, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail