An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Du Tongjian lun 讀通鑒論

Mar 18, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Du Tongjian lun 讀通鑒論 (讀通鑑論) "Comments on reading the Comprehensive Mirror" is a literary critique written by the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) philosopher Wang Fuzhi 王夫之 (1619-1692).

The 30-juan long book is the result of a long period of studies in history. It can be seen as an extract of Sima Guang's 司馬光 (1019-1086) universal history Zizhi tongjian 資治通鑒 "Comprehensive mirror to aid in government" in which Wang Fuzhi analyses 1,300 historical events and tries to draw conclusions to learn from which in the future. The book is heavy influenced by the pessimistic views of the author towards the future. As a loyalist of the Ming dynasty Wang was not able to apply the morale of his research to the administration of the new Qing dynasty 清 (1644-1911).

The Du Tongjian lun is accordingly not included in the imperial reprint series Siku quanshu 四庫全書 but only to be found in Wang Fuzhi's posthumous writings, the Chuanshan yishu 船山遺書.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 1530.