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 noticeable by way of those that lived via it. the writer Wang Renyu's grownup existence coincided heavily with that interval, and his memoirs, even though indirectly transmitted, may be principally recovered from encyclopaedia quotations. His event led from adolescence 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 few nice occasions, but in addition travelled largely and transcribed fabric from a life of conversations with colleagues within the imperial Hanlin Academy.
The research first units Wang's lifestyles in its ancient context and discusses the character and price of his memoirs. It then pursues a few underlying topics that run during the collections, offering approximately eighty designated goods in translation. jointly those provide a characterization of an age of inter-regional conflict during which person lives, no longer grand historic 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; an in depth checklist of his surviving memoir goods; info 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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Additional resources for A Portrait of Five Dynasties China: From the Memoirs of Wang Renyu (880-956)
Bischoff, La forêt des pinceaux: étude sur l’académie du Han-lin sous la dynastie des T’ang et traduction du Han lin tche (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1963); also McMullen, State and scholars, 16. 53 18 A Portrait of Five Dynasties China range more widely over the players at large in the society of Chengdu and Hanzhong during the Later Ruler’s reign. They make an extravagant spectacle in which an underlying theme is social dysfunction and abuse running wild under slack rule from above.
8673. 128 See Chapter 6, notes 3, 17, 47. 129 See n. 122, this chapter. 130 Historical value ultimately lies in the mind of the historian, whose choice and use of sources will reﬂect the focus and priorities of his own enterprise. Wang’s memoirs have had to wait for more recent times to ﬁnd an audience attuned to their distinctive voice. That audience is found chieﬂy among academics in southern Gansu province, for whom Wang Renyu is an eminent ﬁgure from their regional past. 131 Alongside a more open-minded interest in historical data, this new generation of scholars in southern Gansu still dwells with some concern upon questions of generic classiﬁcation and literary judgement.
It was the occasion of Pu Yuqing’s warning memorial, casually ignored by the Later Ruler, who soon found himself in the path of the Prince of Wei’s victorious army as it swept southward through the passes into Shu. The kingdom fell, and the entire episode was witnessed and chronicled in detail by Wang Renyu, at his ruler’s side throughout. This will be the subject of Chapter 6. Lethal events now followed. Early in 926 the dethroned Later Ruler Wang Yan was taken with his family and ofﬁcials under armed escort towards the Eastern Capital, Luoyang.
A Portrait of Five Dynasties China: From the Memoirs of Wang Renyu (880-956) by Glen Dudbridge