An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Duyizhi 獨異志

Oct 5, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Duyizhi 獨異志 "Outstanding phantastic stories" is a collection of phantastic stories compiled by the Tang period 唐 (618-907) scholar Li Yin 李冘, whose name is also rendered as Li Kang 李亢, Li Yuan 李元 or Li Rong 李冗. Because virtually nothing is known about his life, it is impossible to identify the correct form of his name. It is said that he was regional inspector (cishi 刺史) of Mingzhou 明州 (modern Yinxian 鄞縣, Zhejiang).
The original book is lost. It must have been compiled in the mid-9th century. The stories belong to the genre of chuanqi 傳奇 "transmission of the strange", which was very popular between the Southern Dynasties 南朝 (420~589) and the Tang period and whose literary level drastically increased from the early zhiguai 志怪 stories to the full type of fiction. Some stories are quite famous, like that of a singsong girl that married her brother, how the Daoist philosopher Liezi 列子 instructed someone to converse with a seagull, or the foolish old man who wanted to move a mountain. The stories are quite short and written in a simple and plain language. The original size of the book was 10 juan "scrolls" that covered 427 stories, of which only four stories in 3 juan survive. It is included in the reprint series Baihai 稗海, Congshu jicheng 叢書集成 and Shuofu 說郛. In 1983 the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局 published a modern version in a joint edition with the book Xuanshizhi 宣室志.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 2175. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.
Wu Feng 吳楓 (ed.1994). Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Wenxue 文學卷, p. 503. Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe.