An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Gushixuan 古詩選

May 14, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald
Wang Shizhen's 王士禛 (Ruanting) Gushixuan (阮亭)古詩選

Wang Shizhen's 王士禛 (Ruanting) Gushixuan (阮亭)古詩選

Gushixuan 古詩選 "Selected ancient poems" is an anthology of regular poems (lüshi 律詩) from the Han 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) to the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368). It was compiled during the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Wang Shizhen 王士禛 (1634-1711). Wang Shizhen has selected exemplary five-syllable (wuyanshi 五言詩) and seven-syllable regular poems (qiyanshi 七言詩) as those of the most widespread and common type of Chinese poetry. In order to discern Wang’s anthology from Chen Zuoming’s 陳祚明 (1623-1674) earlier collection of the same name, the latter is called Caishutang gushixuan 采菽堂古詩選, and the former Ruanting gushixuan 阮亭古詩選, like the studio name of Wang Shizhen.

The anthology of 32 juan length includes a lot of poems, the first 17 juan five-syllable poems from the Han to the Tang 唐 (618-907), the last 15 juan seven-syllable poems from antiquity to the Yuan period. Almost all surviving Han period poems are included in the Gushixuan, yet those from later periods have been included only selectively. The reason is that Wang was convinced that five-syllable regular poems of the Han period was directly influenced by the poems of the Classic Shijing 詩經 "Book of Songs", while the seven-syllable poems of later ages were already to distant from this paradigmatic collection. Among the seven-syllable poems, those from the Tang period are dominating. The quality of the selected poems is generally rated as relatively high, and the Gushixuan is therefore an excellent and detailed overview of regular poems through the ages.

There are, nevertheless, some shortcomings. There are only five poets from the Tang period as representatives of five-syllable poems, namely Chen Zi'ang 陳子昂 (661-702), Zhang Jiuling 張九齡 (678-740), Li Bai 李白 (701-762), Wei Yingwu 韋應物 (737?-791) and Liu Zongyuan 柳宗元 (773-819), and not a single five-syllable poem of the great master Du Fu 杜甫 (712-770) included (only one seven-syllable poem), whom Wang Shizhen himself interpreted as the most important and influential poet of all times. The great masters Wang Bo 王勃 (650-676), Yang Jiong 楊炯 (650-693), Lu Zhaolin 盧照鄰 (634?-689), Luo Binwang 駱賓王 (640?-684?) and Yuan Zhen 元稹 (779-831). The name of Bai Juyi 白居易 (772-846) is not even mentioned.

There is a commentary from the Qianlong reign-period 乾隆 (1736-1795), the Gushi jian 古詩箋 by Wen Rentan 聞人倓. The Gushixuan was printed at that time by the Zhilan Studio 芷蘭堂. A modern edition has been published by the Shanghai guji press 上海古籍出版社 in 1980.

Allen, Joseph R. (1986). "Ku-shih hsüan 古詩選", in William H. Nienhauser, ed. The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature (Bloomington/Indianapolis: Indiana University Press), 488-489.
Duan Shaohua 段少華 (2008). "Qianlun Wang Shizhen yu Shen Deqian de shixue sixiang zhi yitong: Yi liang ren de shige xuanben Gushixuan he Gushiyuan wei li 淺論王士禎與沈德潛的詩學思想之異同——以兩人的詩歌選本《古詩選》和《古詩源》為例", Xichang Xueyuan xuebao (Shehui kexue ban) 西昌學院學報(社會科學版), 2008 (3): 42-45.
Han Min 韓敏 (2012). "Jinti shichao yu Gushixuan de yuanyuan guanxi 《今體詩鈔》與《古詩選》的淵源關係", Hubei Hanshou Daxue xuebao 湖北函授大學學報, 2012(02) Page:157-158.
Hu Tao 胡韜 (2022). "Wang Shizhen Gushixuan chengshu shijian ji bianzuan yuanyou xinkao 王士禛《古詩選》成書時間及編纂緣由新考", Shaoguan Xueyuan xuebao (Shehui kexue) 韶關學院學報(社會科學), 2022(04) Page:23-29.
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Qi Tinggui 戚廷貴, Liu Xiaoyan 劉孝嚴, Tang Shufan 唐樹凡, eds. (1992). Dong-xifang yishu cidian 東西方藝術辭典 (Changchun: Jilin jiaoyu chubanshe), 1077.
Shen Yucheng 沈玉成 (1986). "Gushiyuan 古詩源", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo wenxue 中國文學, vol. 1, p. 193. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.
Xie Hailin 謝海林 (2013). "Wang Shizhen Ruanting gushixuan bianzhuan yuanyou, beijing ji zhixiang chuyi 王士禛《阮亭古詩選》編撰緣由、背景及旨向芻議", Wenyi pinglun 文藝評論, 2013(06) Page:122-127.

Chen Zuoming’s 陳祚明 Caishutang gushixuan 采菽堂古詩選

Caishutang gushixuan 采菽堂古詩選 is a collection of regular-style (shi 詩) poems from the Han 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) to the Southern Dynasties period 南朝 (420-589). It was compiled by Chen Zuoming 陳祚明 (1623-1674), courtesy name Yinqian 胤倩, style Xiliu Shanren 嵇留山人, studio name Caishutang 采菽堂, from Hangzhou 杭州, Zhejiang. He was a famous poet himself. His collected writings are called Bizhou ji 敝帚集 or Xiliu Shanren ji 嵇留山人集.

The collection has a length of 38 juan, with an appendix of 4 fascicles, and was finished in 1663, but only printed in 1709 by Chen’s disciple Weng Songnian 翁嵩年 (1648-1730). The title has been chosen to discern the anthology from Wang Shizhen’s 王士禛 (1634-1711) Gushixuan 古詩選. Chen’s anthology was inspired by Feng Weine’s 馮惟訥 (1513-1572) collection Gushiji 古詩紀. It adds brief commentaries to the poems selected and their authors. Because of his own preferences, Chen Zuoming included almost the complete poems of Tao Yuanming 陶淵明 (Tao Qian 陶潛, c. 365-427), but also such of famous writers as Cao Zhi 曹植 (192-232), Ruan Ji 阮籍 (210-263), Xie Lingyun 謝靈運 (385-433), Bao Zhao 鮑照 (c. 414-466), Xie Tiao 謝朓 (464-499), Shen Yue 沈約 (441-513) or Yu Xin 庾信 (513-581).

The book was not as widespread as Wang Shizhen’s Gushixuan.

Bai Huawen 白化文 (1986). "Caishutang gushixuan 采菽堂古詩選", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Zhongguo wenxue 中國文學 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 50.
Chen Bin 陳斌 (2007). "Qing-chu shiwen xuanjia Chen Zuoming ji qi Caishutang gushixuan 清初詩文選家陳祚明及其《采菽堂古詩選》", Gudian wenxue zhishi 古典文學知識, 2007 (2): 90-95.
Li Jinsong 李金松, Chen Jianxin 陳建新 (2003). "Chen Zuoming Caishutang gushixuan kaoshu 陳祚明《采菽堂古詩選》考述", Zhongguo yunwen xuekan 中國韻文學刊, 2003 (2): 61-67.
Zhang Wei 張偉 (2013). "Lun Gushiyuan dui Caishutang gushixuan shixue sixiang de chengxi 論《古詩源》對《采菽堂古詩選》詩學思想的承襲", Zhongguo yunwen xuekan 中國韻文學刊, 2013 (4): 28-33.