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Chinese Literature
Tangshi sanbai shou 唐詩三百首 "Three Hundred Tang Period shi Poems"

The very widespread collection Tangshi sanbai shou 唐詩三百首 "Three hundred Tang shi poems" was compiled by the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Sun Zhu 孫洙, who was also called by his style Hengtang tuishi 蘅塘退士 "Retired Master of Hengtang", and published in 1764. Sun was not very pleased with the poems of the anthology Qianjiashi 千家詩 compiled during the late Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) because of its lack of educational spirit. His own compilation became so popular that it is enclosed in a corpus of books that are found in almost every household still today. Sun's intention was to select poems that serve to cultivate the character of the reader. Today, there exist some new compositions of three hundred Tang poems containing different works than the Sun edition, because the Qing time attitude to poetry as educational instrument has changed until today, so that some compilers think that the composition should be somehow "more modern".
Sun Zhu has divided his anthology into six different styles, comprising old style poems (gushi 古詩), regular poems (lüshi 律詩) and short poems (jueju 絕句), both with five and seven syllable verses. Between the particular sections poems in the style of the old Han Music Bureau (yuefu 樂府) are inserted that were still in use during the Tang period but gradually lost their original character and disappeared during the later half of Tang. The first version of the Tangshi sanbai shou includes 310 poems, the edition of the Siteng yinshe 四藤吟社 313 poems.
The book was commented during the Daoguang reign 道光 (1821-1850) by Chen Wanjun 陳婉俊 (the Sitengyinshe edition 四藤吟社) and during the Guangxu reign 光緒 (1875-1908) by Zhang Xie 章燮 (the Wanweishanzhuang edition 宛委山莊). Modern commentaries have been written by Yu Shouzhen 喻守真 (Tangshi sanbai shou xiangxi 唐詩三百首詳析) and Jin Xingyao 金性堯 (Tangshi sanbai shou xinzhu 唐詩三百首新注). There is another enlarged edition by Yu Qingyuan 于慶元, the Tangshi sanbai shou xuxuan 唐詩三百首續選 (the Liuzhentang edition 留真堂).

Poem styles in the Tangshi sanbai shou
五言古詩 Wuyan gushi Old style poems with five syllables
七言古詩 Qiyan gushi Old style poems with seven syllables
五言律詩 Wuyan lüshi Regulated poems with five syllables
七言律詩 Qiyan lüshi Regulated poems with seven syllables
五言絕句 Wuyan jueju Short poems with five syllables
七言絕句 Qiyan jueju Short poems with seven syllables

Sources: Hu Ying 扈英 (1993). "Tangshi sanbai shou 唐詩三百首", in: Zhongguo xiaoxue jiaoxue baike quanshu 中國小學小學百科全書, Yuwen 語文, p. 91. Shenyang: Shengyang chubanshe.
Qian Zhonglian 錢仲聯 (1986). "Tangshi sanbai shou 唐詩三百首", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo wenxue 中國文學, vol., p. 840. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.

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July 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail