By Glen Dudbridge
The anecdotal literature of late-medieval China isn't really unknown, however it is under-used. Glen Dudbridge explores collections of anecdotal memoirs to build an intimate portrait of the 1st half the 10th century as obvious by way of those that lived via it. the writer Wang Renyu's grownup lifestyles coincided heavily with that interval, and his memoirs, notwithstanding indirectly transmitted, will be principally recovered from encyclopaedia quotations. His adventure led from youth at the north-west border with Tibet, via carrier with the dominion of Shu, to a mainstream profession lower than 4 successive dynasties in northern China. He bore own witness to a couple nice occasions, but additionally travelled greatly and transcribed fabric from a life of conversations with colleagues within the imperial Hanlin Academy.
The learn first units Wang's existence in its old context and discusses the character and cost of his memoirs. It then pursues a few underlying topics that run throughout the collections, providing approximately eighty unique goods in translation. jointly those supply a characterization of an age of inter-regional conflict during which person lives, now not grand old narrative, shape the focal point. A nuanced self-portrait of the writer emerges, combining beneficial properties that appear alien to trendy values with others that appear extra familiar.
Four appendixes provide the textual content of the author's tombstone epitaph; a close record of his surviving memoir goods; information from music catalogues at the early transmission of his writings; and Wang Renyu's personal definition of the 4 musical modes inherited from the Tang dynasty.
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Extra info for A Portrait of Five Dynasties China: From the Memoirs of Wang Renyu (880-956)
But events under the Former Shu kingdom, for instance, raise interesting problems: it was barely recognized as an imperial dynasty in its own time, and certainly not so after it fell. How then would Wang Renyu have referred to it in his later years? And what formula would the Taiping guang ji editors in their turn, as servants of the new Song dynasty, have chosen to impose? The evidence of the text is inconsistent and confusing. We ﬁnd the bare name ‘Shu’, but also ‘Western Shu’ 西蜀, ‘the Shu of the Wangs’ 王蜀, ‘the illegitimate Shu’ (or ‘pseudo-Shu’) 僞蜀, and even ‘the illegitimate Shu of the Wangs’ 僞王蜀 (183).
Spend less time lingering in your forests and pavilions, spend more in perusing the books and histories of former kings. Cultivate especially the higher virtue and use it to guide your long-term strategy. Do not let yourself become abandoned to sex or fuddled by drink. Always stay closely involved with the business of government, do not indulge in idle pleasures. (195) Evidently Wang Renyu owed his place in that overripe environment to his literary skills, and his appointment to the Hanlin Academy even more so.
The Master said: ‘We should serve our ruler with total loyalty and our father with total ﬁlial duty. ’ Upon which he put the Qiyang 岐陽 emissary to death75 and rushed to the posting station to submit a memorial of loyal rectitude and upright sentiment. All who heard of this judged him to be high-minded. His loyalty was rewarded with the command of a punitive force sent against Li Congke. Their assault began on 30 April 934. On 2 May the Prince of Lu, hard-pressed, used a combination of battleﬁeld eloquence and material rewards to induce the attacking armies to join his cause.