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Chinese Literature
Nantangshu 南唐書 "The Book of the Southern Tang Dynasty"


There are two books with the title Nantangshu 南唐書 "Book of the Southern Tang Dynasty", one written by Ma Ling 馬令, the other by Lu You 陸游, both Song period 宋 (960-1279) scholars. A third Nantangshu by Hu Hui 胡恢 is lost. All three are histories of the Southern Tang empire 南唐 (937-975), one of the Ten States 十國 (902-979) ruling over southern China during the 10th century.
Ma Ling's 30 juan "scrolls" long book Mashi Nangtangshu 馬氏南唐書 is based on a transmission on a lot of material and information held by his family. His preface, in which he provides information about this background, is unfortunately lost. The book is arranged in the style of biographies, the first juan covering life and reign of Emperor Liezu 烈祖 (r. 937-942, Xianzhu shu 先主書 "The Book of the first ruler"), the next 3 juan that of his successors Yuanzong 元宗 (r. 943-960) and Li Yu 李煜 (known as Houzhu 後主, the Last Ruler, r. 961-975, Sizhu shu 嗣主書 "Book of the following rulers"). These imperial biographies are followed by biographies of the Empresses and princesses (with an appendix including two outstanding women, lienü 列女), members of the imperial house (Ci zongshi zhuan 次宗室傳), virtuous subjects (Yiyang zhuan 義養傳), 4 juan of normal biographies (liezhuan 列傳), 2 juan of Confucians (Ruzhe zhuan 儒者傳), hidden worthies (Yinzhe zhuan 隱者傳), 2 juan of persons dying for a noble cause (Yisi zhuan 義死傳), incorruptible ministers (Lianyu zhuan 廉隅傳), 2 juan of cruel ministers (Kezheng zhuan 苛政傳), magicians (Fangshu zhuan 方術傳) and humorists (Huixie zhuan 詼諧傳). In this structure, Ma Ling's Nantangshu imitates the official dynastic histories, with the difference that it also includes very narrative and historically not necessarily reliable stories.
His book is included in the collectanea Mohai jinhu 墨海金壺, Shugu congchao 述古叢抄, Cangxiutang congshu 藏修堂叢書, Yuyuan congshu 芋園叢書, Congshu jicheng 叢書集成 and Siku quanshu 四庫全書.
Lu You's 18 juan long book Lushi Nantangshu 陸氏南唐書 has an appendix of 1 juan including a phonetic and semantic commentary written by Qi Guang 戚光. Lu You is known as a famous poet, and he has written the books Jiannan shigao 劍南詩稿, Weinan wenji 渭南文集 and Laoxue'an biji 老學庵筆記. Lu Lou has arranged the content in biographies, first three imperial bibliographies (benji 本紀) for Emperor Liezong 烈祖 (r. 937-942), Emperor Yuanzong 元宗 (r. 943-960) and the "Last Ruler" (Houzhu 後主) Li Yu 李煜 (r. 961-975). The rest of the book are normal biographies.
Lu You's Nantangshu is included in the collectanea Jiguge congshu 汲古閣叢書, Mice huihan 秘册彙函, Lu Fangweng quanji 陸放翁全集 (the collected writings of Lu You), Shugu congchao 述古叢抄, Nantangshu hekan 南唐書合刻 (together with Ma Ling's book), Cuilangganguan congshu 翠琅玕館叢書, Yuyuan congshu 芋園叢書, Congshu jicheng 叢書集成, Sibu beiyao 四部備要 and Siku quanshu 四庫全書.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 1, p. 1046. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

Chinese literature according to the four-category system

May 21, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail