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Chinese Literature
Huichenlu 揮麈錄 "Records of a Horsetail Wisk"


The Huichenlu 揮麈錄 "Records of a Horsetail Wisk", also called Wangshi huichen lu 王氏揮麈錄 or Huichen qianlu 揮麈前錄, is a biji 筆記 "brush notes" style book written by the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) scholar Wang Mingqing 王明清 (1127-ca. 1214), courtesy name Wang Zhongyan 王仲言. He came from Ruyin 汝陰 (modern Fuyang 阜陽, Anhui) and was grand master for court audiences (chaoqing dafu 朝請大夫), administrative assistant (panguan 判官) of the military commissioner (jiedushi 節度使) of the military prefecture of Ningguo 寧國軍, controller-general (tongpan 通判) of the prefecture of Qinzhou 泰州 and consultant (canyiguan 參議官) to the commissioner of the circuit of Zhexi 浙西. During all this time, a period of more than thirty years, he made down notes on many different themes of history which he then compiled to a 20 juan "scrolls" long book. It consists of four parts (Qianlu 前錄, Houlu 後錄, Sanlu 三錄 and Yulu 餘話) that all focus on historical themes of the period of the downfall of the Northern Song 北宋 (960-1126) and the re-foundation of the dynasty in the south. They include a lot of information on the functioning of the imperial court, but also about poems and inscriptions written during that time and about the persons acting. The Huichenlu is therefore a very important source on the history of the mid-Song period, as was already perceived just after its publication. As a subject of the Song dynasty he criticizes the corruption of officials and the squandering of the court, instead of supporting those who advocated a more offensive relation with the Jin empire 金 (1115-1234).
The Huichenlu is to be found in the collectanea Jindai mishu 津逮秘書 and Sibu congkan xubian 四部叢刊續編. In 1961 the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局 published a modern edition.


Source: Lin Fei 林非 (ed. 1997). Zhongguo sanwen da cidian 中國散文大辭典, Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou guji chubanshe, p. 192.


The short book Chengzhai huichen lu 誠齋揮麈錄 is attributed to the late Song period 宋 (960-1279) writer Yang Wanli 楊萬里 (1127-1206), courtesy name Yang Tingxiu 楊廷秀, style Chengzhai 誠齋. He came from Jishui 吉水 in Jizhou 吉州 (modern Jizhou, Jiangxi) and was magistrate (zhixian 知縣) of Fengxin 奉新, professor (boshi 博士 "erudite") in the Directorate of Education (guozijian 國子監), erudite under the Chamberlain for Ceremonials (taichang 太常), Reader-in-waiting of the Heir Apparent (taizi shidu 太子侍讀), prefect (zhizhou 知州) of Yunzhou 筠州 and finally assistant transport commissioner (zhuanyun fushi 轉運副使) of Jiangdong 江東.
A closer investigation of the text reveils that the Chengzhai huichen lu is a slighly shortened version of Wang Mingqing's 王明清 Huichenlu 揮麈錄, in which all places in which Wang spoke of himself were replaced by the name of Yang Wanli. It seems barely plausible why a famous poet like Yang Wanli, who was one of the "four great poets of the Southern Song" (Nansong si da jia 南宋四大家: Yang Wanli 楊萬里, You Mao 尤袤, Fan Chengda 范成大 and Lu You 陸游) and was known for his upright character, should have forged a book. The forgery might therefore have been the product of a book publisher who used the name of this famous person instead of Wang Mingqing's. The Chengzhai huichen lu is to be found in the collectanea Baichuan xuehai 百川學海 and Xuehai leibian 學海類編.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe, vol. 2, p. 1961.
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

August 28, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail