Chinese Literature Novels and stories (xiaoshuojia 小說家)
The literary type of novels and stories (xiaoshuojia lei 小說家類) is a sub-category to the literary category of masters and philosophers (zibu 子部) in the collectaneumSiku quanshu 四庫全書. The term xiaoshuo 小說 originally meant a shallow and trivial discussion, but from the beginning, it also designated a historical content, referring to stories and events not worth to be recorded in official annals or histories. It was stories people narrated on the streets and in the inns, often with exaggerating character and telling supernatural indicents. From the Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) on, such stories were very popular, and there exists a large amount of collections assembling semi-historical and phantastic tales. The novel section in the Siku quanshu includes 123 books, divided into miscellaneous affairs (zashi 雜事, 86 books), strange tales (yiwen 異聞, 32 books) and trivial reports (suoji 瑣記, 5 books). The most famous are the anthology Shishuo xinyu 世說新語
and the pseudo-geography Shanhaijing 山海經. Many phantastic stories have an affinity to Daoist biographies.