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Chinese Literature
Guoque 國榷


The Four Categories of Literature
Guoque 國榷 “Discussions about the state” is an inofficial history of the Ming dynasty compiled by Tan Qian 談遷 (1593 – 1657, original name Yixun 以訓, style Guanruo 觀若, later Rumu 孺木) who, as official in the bureau for historiography, had compiled the “Veritable records of the Ming” (Mingshilu 明實錄), and planned to compile more ‘objective’ annals in 1621. These were several times rewritten and found their final shape in a publication in 1647. This book, called Guoque, covers the time from the birth of Emperor Taizu 明太祖 (r. 1368 – 1396), the founder of the Ming dynasty, until the end of the Ming and the conquest of the secondary capital Nanjing 南京 by the armies of the Manchus. Unlike the official annals of the Ming, the Mingshilu, Tan Qian’s Guoque does not simply quote imperial decisions on questions of daily routine, but rather reflects on events and investigates the background of many facts. His book is also important for the pre-history of the Qing dynasty, the Jurchens at the beginning of the 17th century, and the foundation of their Manchu empire in the northeast. The last years of the Ming dynasty during the Chongzhen reign 崇禎 (1628 – 1644) are described on the base of the official capital gazette {das ist ein Fachterminus} (dibao 邸報), local gazetteers and oral reports. The value of the Guoque is degraded by the fact that the books includes many contradictions and that many passages are too short. The book consists of 108 juan. The title “discussions” poins at the important function of memorials that served with their suggestions as a base for for deliberation of concrete political decisions, and of which a huge number is quoted in the book. Reference: Xuxiu siku quanshu.

Source: Chen Zuorong 陳作榮 (1992), "Guoque 國榷", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, p. 290.

Chapters
1.-2. 元文宗 and 元顺帝 3.-11. 太祖 11.-12. 惠宗 13.-18. 成祖 18.-19. 仁宗 19.-20. 宣宗

July 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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