文選 Wen Xuan

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Engelse titel: Literary Selections

The Wen xuan (Literary Selections) has been called the "Chinese Anthology." Compiled by Xiao Tong (501—531), known posthum­ously as the Crown Prince of Resplendent Brilliance, the Wen xuan is the oldest surviving collection of Chinese literature arranged generically. It contains 761 pieces of prose and verse by 130 writers, covering the period from the late Zhou to the Liang dynasty.

It includes masterpieces of early Chinese literature from thirty-seven different genres. It preserves most of the best specimens of fu K (rhyme-prose or rhapsody) and shi (lyric poetry) from the Han, Wei, Jin, and North- South Dynasties period, as well as representative examples of inscriptions, epitaphs, laments, elegies, encomia, eulogies, expository essays, memorials, letters, prefaces, epigrams, and imperial edicts.

It was one of the primary sources of literary knowledge for educated Chinese in the premodern period, and it stillis the vademecum for specialists in pre-Tang literature.

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Indeling tekst

Knechtgens geeft de volgende toelichting in Chennault 2014 Early Medieval Chinese Texts A Bibliography Guide, p381-82.

The Wen xuan contains 761 pieces of prose and verse by 130 writers. The most commonly used version divides the works into thirty-seven genres:
fu 賦 (exposition, or rhapsody),
shi 詩 (lyric poetry),
sao 騷 (elegy),
qi 七 (sevens),
zhao 詔 (edict),
ce 冊 (patent of enfeoffment),
ling 令 (command)々
fflo 叙 (instruction),
cewen 策 文 (examination question),
biao 表 (petition),
shangshu 上書 (letter presented to a superior),
qi 啟 (communication),
tanshi 彈事 (accusation),
户kn 箋 (memorandum),
Z0W 奏記 (note),
shu書(letter),
xi 檄 (proclamation),
duiwen 對文 (dialogue),
shelun 設 論 (hypothetical discourse),
ci 辭 (song, or rhapsody),
xu 序 (preface),
song 頌 (eulogy),
zan 贊 (encomium),
fuming 符 命 (mandate to rule based on prophetic signs),
shi lun 史論 (disquisition from the histories),
shi shu zan 史述贊 (evaluation and judgment from the histories),
lun 論 (disquisition),
lianzhu 連 珠 (epigram),
zhen 箴 (admonition),
ming 銘 (inscription),
lei 諌 (dirge),
ai 哀 (lament),
beiwen 碑文(epitaph, stele inscription),
muzhi 墓志(grave memoir),
xingzhuang 行狀 (conduct description),
diaowen 弔文 (condolence), and
jiwen 祭文(offering).

Some versions of the Wen xuan have thirty-eight categories with the addition of yi 移 (dispatch) between shu and xi. In the woodblock edition of Chen Balang 陳八郎 of the Southern Song, a thirty-ninth category, the nan 難 (refutation), is added.

The fu and shi sections, which are divided into subcategories, contain the most pieces.

The fu section has fifteen subcategories, such as
"Jingdu"京都 (Metropolises and capitals),
"Jiao si"郊祀 (Sacrifices), and
"Tianlie"田獵 (Hunting).

The shi section has twenty-three subcategories, among which those containing more than twenty pieces are
"Yong shi"詠史 (Poems on historical themes),
"You lan"游覽 (Sightseeing),
"Zengda" 贈答 (Exchangepoems),
"Xinglti" 行旅 (Travel),
"Yuefu" 樂 (Ballads),
"Za shi"雜詩 (Unclassified lyric poems), and
"Zani" 雜擬(Diverse imitations).

Works in each genre are arranged chronologically.

Xiao Tong explains in his preface the principles of compilation and the standards of selection. Four kinds of writing were excluded:
(1) works traditionally attributed to the Duke of Zhou and Confucius, that is, works that are usually included in the jing S., or "classics, category;
(2) the writings of Laozi, Zhuangzi, Guanzi, and Mencius, meaning the works of the zi 子, or "masters, group;
(3) the speeches of worthy men, loyal officials, political strategists, and sophists, which are found in such works as the Guo yu 國語 and Zhanguo ce 戰國策; and
(4) historical narratives and chronicles.

The last two types belong to the shi 史, or "history," category.
Xiao makes a clear distinction between what he called wen 文, or "literary" works, and nonliterary works. By literary, he meant writing that displays "verbal coloration intricately arranged" and "literary ornament carefully organized” or works "whose matter is the product of profound thought, and whose principles belong to the realm of literary elegance."

He considered the style of the classics, histories, and masters plain and simple, and their function primarily practical. Some later scholars faulted Xiao for much too narrow a definition of literature. The Wen xuan in fact does contain some pieces that belong to the excluded categories. For example, such works as "Preface to the Shang shu”, "Preface to the Mao Version of the Classic of Songs," and the "Preface to the Zuo shi Chunqiu” by Du Yu 杜預 (222-284) all are from the standard version of the classics.


Online informatie:

Wikipedia: Xiao Tong


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Knechtgens, David R. (1996). Wen Xuan or Selections of refined Literature, Volume III: Rhapsodies on Natural Phenomena, Birds and Animals, Aspirations and Feelings, Sorrowful Laments, Literature, Music, and Passions. Princeton University Press.
ISBN13: 978-0-691-63529-3ISBN: 9780691635293

---, redactie (1987). Wen Xuan or Selections of Refined Literature, Volume II: Rhapsodies on Sacrifices, Hunting, Travel, Sightseeing, Palaces and Halls, Rivers and Seas. Princeton University Press.*
ISBN13: 978-0-691-63073-1ISBN: 9780691630731

---, redactie (1983). Wen Xuan or Selections of refined Literature, Volume I: Rhapsodies on Metropolises and Capitals. Princeton University Press.*
ISBN13: 978-0-691-64156-0ISBN: 9780691641560

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