A New Account of the Tales of the World
A New Account of the Tales of the World, also known as Shishuo Xinyu or Shih-shuo Hsin-yu (Chinese: 世說新語), was compiled and edited by Liu Yiqing (Liu I-ching; 劉義慶; 403–444) during the Liu Song dynasty (420–479) of the Northern and Southern dynasties (420–589). The book contains some 1,130 historical anecdotes and character sketches of some 600 literati, musicians and painters who lived in the Han and Wei–Jin periods, that is, the second through fourth centuries. Chapter 19, for instance, has 32 stories about outstanding women. It is thus both a biographical source and a record of colloquial language. The original text of the book was divided into eight volumes of juan ("scroll"), though current editions generally span ten volumes.
Although most of the anecdotes and personalities are attested in other sources, traditional Chinese bibliographers did not classify Shishuo Xinyu as history but as "minor talk" (xiao shuo), a term that was later used to refer to fiction. Literary historian Victor Mair comments that the "bias against Tales of the World as legitimate work of history undoubtedly stemmed from its failure to subscribe to the sanctioned conventions of history enshrined in the dynastic histories and its use of lively and sometimes colloquial language." The mixture of literary and vernacular styles set the scene for the later tradition of informal Chinese literature. The 20th-century Chinese novelist Lu Xun also spoke highly of the book's aesthetic merits.
- Hand-written fragments from the Tang dynasty (618–907) (唐寫本殘卷)
- Dong Fen edition, 1138 (8th year of the Shaoxing reign of the Southern Song); original kept in Japan (南宋紹興八年董弅刊本，原本存於日本)
- Edition by Lu You, 1188 (15th year of the Chunxi reign of the Southern Song) (南宋淳熙十五年陸游刻本)
- Edition from Hunan, 1189 (16th year of Chunxi) (淳熙十六年湘中刻本)
- Virtuous Conduct 德行第一
- Speech and Conversation 言語第二
- Affairs of State 政事第三
- Letters and Scholarship 文學第四
- The Square and the Proper 方正第五
- Cultivated Tolerance 雅量第六
- Insight and Judgment 識鑑第七
- Appreciation and Praise 賞譽第八
- Grading Excellence 品藻第九
- Admonitions and Warnings 規箴第十
- Quick Perception 捷悟第十一
- Precocious Intelligence 夙惠第十二
- Virility and Boldness 豪爽第十三
- Appearance and Manner 容止第十四
- Self-renewal 自新第十五
- Admiration and Emulation 企羨第十六
- Grieving for the Departed 傷逝第十七
- Reclusion and Disengagement 栖逸第十八
- Worthy Beauties 賢媛第十九
- Technical Understanding 術解第二十
- Skill and Art 巧藝第二十一
- Favor and Veneration 寵禮第二十二
- The Free and Unrestrained 任誕第二十三
- Rudeness and Arrogance 簡傲第二十四
- Taunting and Teasing 排調第二十五
- Contempt and Insults 輕詆第二十六
- Guile and Chicanery 假譎第二十七
- Dismissal from Office 黜免第二十八
- Stinginess and Meanness 儉嗇第二十九
- Extravagance and Ostentation 汰侈第三十
- Anger and Irascibility 忿狷第三十一
- Slander and Treachery 讒險第三十二
- Blameworthiness and Remorse 尤悔第三十三
- Crudities and Slips of the Tongue 紕漏第三十四
- Delusion and Infatuation 惑溺第三十五
- Hostility and Alienation 仇隙第三十六
References and notes
- Endymion Wilkinson. Chinese History: A New Manual. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series New Edition; Second, Revised printing March 2013, ISBN 9780674067158), p. 732.
- NJ Museum Archived October 9, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
- Victor H. Mair. The Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature. (New York: Columbia University Press, Translation from the Asian Classics, 1994. ISBN 023107428X), p. 768.
- Victor H. Mair (ed.), The Columbia History of Chinese Literature. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. ISBN 9780231109840), pp. 580, 688, 888.
- Yiqing Liu, Jun Liu and Richard B. Mather. A New Account of Tales of the World (Shih-Shuo Hsin-Yü). (Ann Arbor: Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan, Michigan Monographs in Chinese Studies, 2002). ISBN 089264155X.
- Nanxiu Qian. Spirit and Self in Medieval China : The Shih-Shuo Hsin-Yü and Its Legacy. (Honolulu: University of Hawai*i Press, 2001). ISBN 0824823095.
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