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Songshi jishi benmo 宋史紀事本末

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Songshi jishi benmo 宋史紀事本末 "Historical events of the Song period in their entirety" is a history of the Song period 宋 (960-1279) written in the style of "historic events in their entirety" (jishi benmo 紀事本末). The 109 juan "scrolls" long book was written by the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) historian Chen Bangzhan 陳邦瞻 (d. 1623). Chen has also written a similar history to the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368), the Yuanshi jishi benmo 元史紀事本末. His collected works are the Lianhua shanfang ji 蓮花山房集. The Ming period was a time when historians began rewriting the history of the Song period, trying to describe both her weaknesses, like the faible central government, the excessive theoretical discussions at the court, the abuse of power by some high ministers, or that many plans had not been realized, and her strengths, like the complete juridical settlement of all governmental affairs, the fixed rules for private housekeeping, or the acknowledged importance of man and the individual in politics. A first attempt to write a Song history in the jishi benmo style had been made by Feng Qi 馮琦 and Shen Yue 沈越, but their book was never finished. In 1604 their disciples Liu Yuewu 劉曰捂 and Xu Shen 徐申 asked Chen Bangzhan if he would be willing to continue this task. He immediately agreed and finished the book one year later. He had arranged the text in 109 chapters, 89 of them dealing with the Song empire, the rest with the "barbarian" empires of Liao 遼 (907-1125) and Jin 金 (1115-1234) and with the Mongols. The reason for his including the beginning of the Yuan period was the fact that the Southern Song capital Lin'an 臨安 (modern Hangzhou 杭州, Zhejiang) had never been destroyed by the Mongol armies, and the Song dynasty therefore "lived on". He imitated older books of the particular "entirety" style, like the Tongjian jishi benmo 通鑑紀事本末, and provided his readers with chapters covering a theme in history that could be read independently from the other chapters of the book. Except the official history of the Song, the Songshi 宋史, he made use of a lot of other annals and histories, like Xue Yingqi's 薛應旂 Song-Yuan zizhi tongjian 宋元資治通鑒. Chen Bangzhen also provided his own critical statements to the events and affairs he describes.
The book was first printed in 1605, in 28 juan. At the very end of the Ming period, the historian Zhang Pu 張溥 added critical comments to the Songshi jishi benmo and rearranged the book into different chapters, resulting in a version of 109 juan. The Qing period 清 (1644-1911) collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書 includes the version in 28 . The Siku quanshu versions of the Wenjin Hall 文津閣 and the Wenshuo Hall 文溯閣 have 38 chapters. There is a nother print by Zhang Wensheng 張聞升 from 1679, one from 1874 (Jiangxi shuju 江西書局), and one print from 1887 (Guangya shuju 廣雅書局). The Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局 edition from 1977 is based on the Jiangxi edition but used the edition from 1605 for text-critical comparison.

Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (ed. 1996), Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, p. 907.

April 29, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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