An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Emeng 噩夢

Apr 9, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Emeng 噩夢 "Nightmares" is a political treatise written by the early Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) philosopher Wang Fuzhi 王夫之 (1619-1692). The short book was compiled in 1681 as a supplement to the treatise Du Tongjian lun 讀通鑒論 that is a resumé of political thoughts resulting from the lecture of the universal history Zizhi tongjian 資治通鑒. The title of the book was chosen because Wang Fuzhi was convinced that the Qing government would never accept his suggestions.

The book Emeng includes concrete suggestions for administrative changes, like the general proposition that the soil should also be owned by those able to work and not by the gentry alone. Wang Fuzhi stresses that all political problems in the past resulted from a wrong tax system that posed an enormous burden on the shoulders of the peasantry, while the large landowners lived from the rents extracted from their lands. Other errors were to be found in the military system, the local administration and the state examination system.

The Emeng is included in the Chuanshan yishu 船山遺書 (Wang Fuzhi's collected writings) and the series Baomozhai congshu 寶墨齋叢書. In 1959 the Beijing guji Press 北京古籍出版社 published a joint edition of the books Emeng and Huangshu 黃書.

Wang Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhonggu guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 938.