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A New Account of the Tales of the World 世说新语 – Top 100 Books in China

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It is the representative work of recording characters’ words and deeds and anecdotes in the Northern and Southern Dynasties

Overview

Chinese Name: 世说新语

English Name: A New Account of the Tales of the World

Other Name: Shishuo Xinyu

Author: Liu Yiqing 刘义庆

Originally Published: AD 420-479 (Southern Song 南宋)

Genre: Note novels

A New Account of the Tales of the World 世说新语
A New Account of the Tales of the World 世说新语

Brief Introduction of A New Account of the Tales of the World

A New Account of the Tales of the World 世说新语 is a collection of stories written by Liu Yiqing , a literary scholar of Southern Song, and a masterpiece of “note novels” in Wei 魏, Jin 晋 and Southern and Northern Dynasties 南北朝.

It mainly records the words and deeds and anecdotes of some famous scholars from the late Eastern Han Dynasty 西汉朝 to Wei and Jin Dynasty. It has 36 chapters in 6 volumes, with elegant and popular language, wit and humor, and a combination of plain description and rhetoric.

According to the content, The Book can be divided into 36 categories, such as “Virtue 德行”, “Political affairs 政事” and “Fang Zheng 方正”. Each category has a number of stories. There are more than 1,200 stories in the whole book, and each story varies in length from several lines to three or two words. The books are all about real people in history, but some of their words or stories are hearsay, not all of them are historical.

A New Account of the Tales of the World 世说新语(内页——卷中和卷下)
The inside pages of the book 书的内页内容

More than 1,500 people, including emperors, generals, hermits and monks, were included in the book and Liu Xiao’s annotations. It focuses on the performance of the characteristics of the characters, through the unique speech and behavior to write the unique character of the unique characters, so that it is vivid, jump on the paper.

A New Account of the Tales of the World 世说新语(谢安和子侄们相聚)
Xie An and her sons and nephews gathered to enjoy and chant snow 谢安和子侄们相聚赏雪、咏雪

The A New Account of the Tales of the World is the study of Wei Jin romantic good historical data, including about the personage of a variety of activities, a variety of character, the life pursuit, etc. It has a vivid description, throughout the book, can get a group of several generations of scholars during the Wei Jin period and through these characters, can understand at that time the upper and the fashion of the society.

A New Account of the Tales of the World 世说新语(竹林七贤和荣启期砖印壁画)
The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi 竹林七贤和荣启期

It also has a profound influence on the development of later note novels. Many of the stories in the book have become the material of dramas and novels of later generations, or become common allusions in poems and articles of later generations, playing an important role in the history of Chinese literature.

Author of A New Account of the Tales of the World

Liu Yiqing (403 ~ 444) was born in Xuzhou 徐州, Jiangsu Province 江苏省. He was a writer and a royal family member of the Southern Song Dynasty.

 

Liu Yiqing 刘义庆
Liu Yiqing 刘义庆

Liu Yiqing was talented and clever since he was young. He loved literature, and his personality was simple and simple. He stood out among the Kings and was highly regarded.

When he was 13 years old, he was granted the title of Duke of Nan Jun 南郡公, and later adopted to his uncle Liu Daogui 刘道规 , king of Linchuan 临川 . He was granted the title of King of Linchuan, and won the trust of Emperor Wu Di 武帝 of Song dynasty and Emperor Wen 文帝 of Song Dynasty.

He began to compile “A New Account of the Tales of the World” at the age of 38 and died of illness at the age of 41 in Nanjing 南京 with the title “King Kang 康王”.

Excerpts From A New Account of the Tales of the World

飘如游云,矫若惊龙。

Graceful posture, like the clouds in the sky, vigorous as the flood dragon.

乘兴而行,兴尽而返。

Follow your heart’s desire to go, to stop, to go back home, not restricted by etiquette.

以小人之虑,度君子之心。

With a villain’s mind, guess the gentleman’s bosom.

Evaluation of A New Account of the Tales of the World

New sayings of the world is a textbook of famous people.

Lu Xun 鲁迅

The language of this book, simple and wonderful, read the face and charm of Jin people, as if in front of the eyes.

Hu Yinglin 胡应麟

The charm and affection of Yin, Liu, Wang and Xie are all vividly reflected in the novel.

Mao Jike 毛际可

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