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Chinese Literature
Songwenjian 宋文鑒 "The Best Examples of Song Period Literature"


The Songwenjian 宋文鑒 "The best examples of Song period literature" is an anthology of Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126) writings. It was compiled on imperial order by Lü Zuqian 呂祖謙 and originally bore the title Huangchao wenjian 皇朝文鍳 "The best examples of literature from Our Dynasty". It is 150 juan "scrolls" long and is divided into 61 categories. Chapters 1 to 11 include rhapsody style poems (fu 賦), chapters 12 to 30 regular shi 詩 style poems, and chapters 30 to 150 cover prose literature. The writings of more than 200 authors are included. The selection of the pieces was explicitly not geared to the personal integrity or importance of the authors, but to the quality of the poems and writings, especially from the period on when there were plenties of literary writings available. This was not the case for the very early years of the Song dynasty. The high literary quality of the book enhanced its popularity among Song period scholars.
There are several prints from the Ming 明 (1368-1644) and Qing 清 (1644-1911) periods, the most widespread version is that in the collectaneum Sibu congkan 四部叢刊, in which a faksimile of a Song period print is reproduced. This version is 3 chapters longer than the Ming period print of Yanzhou 嚴州, but one chapter in juan 61 is missing.


Source: Kong Fanli 孔凡禮 (1986). "Songwenjian 宋文鑒", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo wenxue 中國文學, vol. 2, pp. 788-789. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.

Chinese literature according to the four-category system

November 27, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail