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The Man with the Curly Beard 虬髯客传 – Top 100 Books in China

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It is the earliest classical swordsman novel in China

Overview

Chinese Name: 虬髯客传

English Name: The Man with the Curly Beard

AuthorDu Guangting 杜光庭

Originally Published: AD ?-907 (The late Tang Dynasty 晚唐)

Genre: Swordsman novel

Brief Introduction of The Man with the Curly Beard

The Man with the Curly Beard 虬髯客传 is a Tang Dynasty legend (novel) 唐代传奇 created by Du Guangting 杜光庭 in the late Tang Dynasty. It is the earliest classical swordsman novel in China, collected in Volume 193 of “Taiping Guangji 太平广记“.

The Man with the Curly Beard takes the love story of Hong Fu 红拂 and Li Jing’s 李靖 elopement as the clue, and describes the story of a bearded man who wanted to become a king in the Tang Dynasty, who succumbed to Li Shimin 李世民 and quit to become independent. It twists and turns to reflect the broad people’s hatred of war, look forward to peace and stability of the world’s good wishes.

The Man with the Curly Beard 虬髯客传(风尘三侠)
“The Man with the Curly Beard” in the three leading roles – Feng Chen San Xia 《虬髯客传》中的三个主角——风尘三侠

The novel successfully depicts the images of Li Jing, Hong Fu and the bearded man, who are called the “three Men of prostitution 风尘三侠” by later generations.

The Man with the Curly Beard tells the story of emperor Yang 炀帝 of Sui Dynasty 隋唐 visited Jiangdu 江都. Yang Su 杨素 controlled power, luxury and erosion of life. One day, Li Jing, a poor scholar, asked Yang Su for advice. In Yang Su’s house, Hong Fu defected to Li Jing and got married together. They left the Capital for Taiyuan 太原.

The Man with the Curly Beard 虬髯客传(虬髯客看红拂梳头)
The bearded man was watching Hong Fu comb her hair. 虬髯客正在看红拂梳头发。

One day, two people went to inn for lodging, the bearded man broke into peep to see Hong Fu comb her hair. Hong Fu saw the extraordinary busker, and became brother and sister with him, and introduced Li Jing and the man with the curly beard know each other. Li Jing introduced him face to see Li Shimin. The bearded man also wanted to contend for the world originally, but when he saw Li Shimin look extraordinary, he knew he can’t match with him, then he gave up the intention of fighting for the world. The bearded man would be presented to Li Jing in order to help Li Shimin fight for the world. He took his wife to leave.

The Man with the Curly Beard 虬髯客传(红拂夜奔)
Hong Fu escaped from The house of Yang Su. 红拂逃出杨素家。

Author of The Man with the Curly Beard

Du Guangting (850 ~ 933) was born in Zhejiang province 浙江省 in the late Tang dynasty and the Five Dynasties 五代. His youth, studious, well-read, but the imperial examination was not smooth. He lamented the ups and downs of the world, so into the Tiantai Mountain 天台山 monastic, Sima Chengzhen 司马承祯 five disciples.

 

Du Guangting 杜光庭
Du Guangting 杜光庭

When Tang Xi Zong 唐僖宗 heard about his reputation, he called him to the capital and awarded him an official loyal position, but later he hid from the chaos and entered Shu 蜀 with Tang Xi Zong, staying in Chengdu 成都 ever since.

He finally died at the age of 85.

Du Guangting works quite a lot in his life, in addition this book, “Guangcheng collection”广成集, “Qingcheng Shan Ji”青城山记 and so on. His large number of works, not only reflects the face of Taoism in his time, but also for the revival of Taoism in the Northern Song 北宋 prepared certain conditions.

Excerpts From The Man with the Curly Beard

人臣之谬思乱者,乃螳臂之拒走轮耳。

Those who think of insurrection are like praying mantis with its arms to stop the wheels of the wheel.

丝萝非独生,愿托乔木。

Silk is a parasitic plant that grows by attaching itself to tall, large trees.

不衫不履,裼裘而来,神气扬扬,貌与常异。

His appearance was unkempt, but he carried himself in a manner unlike that of ordinary men.

Evaluation of The Man with the Curly Beard

The Man with the Curly Beard may be said to be the originator of Chinese swordsman novel. There are young men and women in love. The man is a hero and the woman is a beauty.

Jin Yong 金庸

Du Guangting’s “The Man with the Curly Beard “spread widely in later generations.

Lu Xun 鲁迅

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