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Chinese Literature
Jiwenji 異聞記 "Records of Extraordinary Tales"


The Jiwenji 異聞記 "Records of extraordinary tales" is a collection of phantastic stories compiled by the Later Han period 後漢 (25-220 CE) writer Chen Shi 陳寔. It is listed in the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Hou Kang's 侯康 supplementary bibliography to the official dynastic history Houhanshu 後漢書, the Bu Houhanshu yiwen zhi 補後漢書藝文志. Hou says that there are no fragments to be found in the otherwise rich source of the encyclopedias Taiping guangji 太平廣記 and Taiping yulan 太平御覽. The only surviving fragments are quoted in the Daoist book Baopuzi 抱樸子 and the geographical book Beihulu 北戶錄. These two stories are called Zhang Guangding nü 張廣定女 and Wang Yu chi yu 王余池魚. They are assembled in Lu Xun's 魯迅 Gu xiaoshuo gouchen 古小說鉤沉 from the Republican period. It appears that the style of the Jiwenji was higher than common stories of immortals and miracles, and the book therefore presented an important step towards the creation of the literary prose genre of novellas.

Source: Li Shuihai 李水海 (ed. 1994). Zhongguo xiaoshuo da cidian 中國小說大辭典, Xian-Qin zhi Nanbeichao 先秦至南北朝, p. 274. Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe.

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October 5, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail