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Wanli yehuo bian 萬曆野獲編

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Wanli yehuo bian 萬曆野獲編 "Inofficial matters from the Wanli reign 萬曆 (1573-1619)" is an essay-style (biji 筆記) history written by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Shen Defu 沈德符. It is 30 juan "scrolls" long, plus a supplement of 4 juan. Shen Defu was a palace official in the Capital and therefore had the chance to learn a lot about contemporary events which he later, when he retired to his home in Zhejiang, worked up in a literary way. The book was finished in 1607, a 12 juan long sequel (xubian 續編) in 1619. Shen Defu described everything what was told about the Ming dynasty and her history in inofficial ways. His history is therefore a so-called "wild history" (yeshi 野史) not based on archival or official material. It is nevertheless a valuable source for all aspects of the history of the Ming period. The Wanli yehuo bian is furthermore written in an excellent literary style.
Only in the very last years of the Ming period a printing was made with very few copies. During the Kangxi reign (1662-1722) it was included in Zhu Yizun's 朱彝尊 gazetteer Rixia jiuwen 日下舊聞, but with a thoroughly new revision and organisation of the chapters in a more official style. Shen Defu's descendant Shen Zhen 沈振 collected surviving fragments and arranged them in 8 juan. The original shape of the book is thus lost. During the Daoguang reign (1821-1850) Yao Zu'en 姚祖恩 reprinted the Wanli yehuo bian, based on the print of the Lishanfang Studio 荔山房, an edition republished as a modern print in 1958 by the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局.

Source: Xie Guozhen 謝國禎, Wei Zuhui 韋祖輝 (1992), "Wanli yehuo bian 萬曆野獲編", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 3, p. 1186.

September 21, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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