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Chinese Literature
Xinshu 心書 "The Book of the Mind"


The Xinshu 心書 "Book of the mind" is a short military treatise attributed to the Three Kingdoms period 三國 (220-280) politician Zhuge Liang 諸葛亮. The oldest book catalogues nevertheless show that the book did not exist before the Song period 宋 (960-1279). It is first listed in Jiao Hong's 焦竑 bibliography Guoshi jingji zhi 國史經籍志 from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644). It seems that the original title of the book was Xinshu 新書 "The new book", as for example, in the version that is included in the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) collectaneum Shuofu 說郛, and was only given the title of "Book of the mind" during the Ming period. In his book Gujin weishu kao 古今偽書考, Yao Jiheng 姚際恒 stressed that the attribution to Zhuge Liang is certainly wrong. The Xinshu is divided into 46 chapters (the Siku quanshu tiyao 四庫全書提要 speaks of 50 chapters, probably including other writings of Zhuge Liang, like the two memorials Chushibiao 出師表 and the Kuizhentu 夔陣圖) explaining how a general should make use of military strategies. The content of the book has a certain specialist quality.
A Qing period 清 (1644-1911) print of the Xinshu is preserved in the Junshi kexue yuan 軍事科學院. The Xinshu is included in the collectanea Guang Han-Wei congshu 廣漢魏叢書, Zishu baijia 子書百家 (Baizi quanshu 百子全書) and Bingshu qizhong 兵書七種. The collectanea Tang-Song congshu 唐宋叢書, Xuehai leibian 學海類編 and Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編 use the title Xinshu 新書.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 1617. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

Chinese literature according to the four-category system

November 19, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail