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The Ssŭ-k`u ch`üan shu tsung-mu Notice

Han-shih wai-chuan, 10 chüan. Edition in common circulation. Compiled by Han Ying of the Han.

[Han] Ying was a native of [the state of] Yen. Under the Emperor Wên (B. C. 179-156) he became a po-shih, and in the time of the Emperor Ching (B. C. 156-140) he advanced to the position of Tutor to [the Prince of] Ch`ang-shan. The "Essay on Literature" in the Han shu2 lists a Han ku ## in 36 ch., a Han nei chuan ## in 4 chs., a Han wai chuan ## in 6 chs., and a Han shuo ## in 41 ch. With the passage of time they have been scattered or lost. In the case of the Han ku, a version in 22 chapters is still recorded in the Hsin T`ang-shu;3 thus Liu An-shih speaks of 4 having read the "Yü wu chêng" 5 ode in the Han shih. But Ou-yang Hsiu 6 already says that in his time only the Wai chuan was preserved, so that in Northern Sung times some scholars had seen the Han shih and some had not. When, in the Shao-hsing period (1131-1163), Fan Ch`u-i wrote the Shih pu chuan ##, 7 he did not credit Liu An-shih with having really seen a copy of the Han shih; so it was lost at the time of the change from Northern to Southern Sung. This Wai chuan alone is still preserved to the present day. However from the "Essay [on Literature]" in the Shi [shu] on, it has been [listed as having] four chapters more than [the six credited it] in the Han [shu] "Essay"; this is probably the result of redivision by later editors.

This book variously quotes old stories and sayings, illustrating them with lines from the Shih. [The meanings ascribed by it to these lines] are not in accord with the [proper] sense of the Classic; hence the name "Wai chuan" ("Secondary commentary"). The materials assembled in it largely overlap with the philosophical writings of Chou and Ch`in [times]. In discussing the Three Schools of the Shih, Pan Ku speaks of its "on occasion culling from the anecdotal literature or choosing stories from various sources, but never in accord with the true meaning [of the Classic]." Here is he not pointing out this sort of thing?

Hung Mai in his Jung-chai sui-pi8 has discussed its story about the maiden of A-ku (1/3). Other examples, where it speaks of P`êng-tsu's fame on the same level with that of Yao and Shun (1/6), or of immortality [as the result of Inaction] (1/23), or of there being no reason for fearing the transformations of Heaven (2/6), or of shield and spear as being employed in the shao (4/9), or that Shun's having two wives was wrong (4/9), or of Ching K`uai-jui's retainer's not "continuously maintaining his virtue" (8/4), all of them are objectionable. It says that "Liu-hsia Hui sacrificed himself to perfect his trustworthiness" (1/8); that Confucius made an analogy with driving to explain compassion for the people (2/11); that Confucius made the statement in the `Shun was born in Ming-t`iao' section; 9 that it was King Ch`êng 10 of Ch`u whom Lun-pien answered (5/6); that Jan-yu said Yen, Wu, Ch`u, and Tai were going to attack the king of Ch`in 11 (8/24): all these are at variance with fact. The incident of Yen Yüan, Tzŭ-kung, and Tzŭ-lu telling of their respective ambitions (7/25, 9/15), as well as that of Shên Ming's dying as a result of the insurrection of the Governor of Po (1/21, 10/24) 12 are both repeated in different parts of the book; in such cases we find also unnecessary repetition. But where he has quoted Hsün Ch`ing's "Diatribe against the Twelve Philosophers" 13 (4/22), in expunging the two names of Mencius and Tzŭ-ssŭ, and preserving only ten philosophers, he shows considerable discrimination in his selection. Moreover his metaphors of the cocoon and the thread, and the egg and the chick (5/17) were borrowed by Tung Chung-shu in his [Ch`un-ch`iu] fan-lu;14 while the explanation of ## as ## and of ## as ## was used by Pan Ku in the Po hu t`ung.15 Thus refined principles and famous sayings occur throughout the book. We should not view it as a work solely devoted to exegesis.

The usual thing in this book is for each section to quote a line from the Shih, but there are twenty-eight 16 sections without such quotations; also the "I tell you" beginning one section (6/7) is out of context. In both cases there is probably a defect in the text. In his commentary on the Wên hsüan, Li Shan quotes from the Wai-chuan, "Confucius climbed Mt. T`ai and looked out over more than seventy [representatives of] ruling families not of the Chou clan," 17 and also the story of the two women of Han-kao, 18 both of which are lacking in present-day texts. It is likely that in these two cases we have also to do with textual omissions. As to quotations like "Snow flowers have six petals" in the I-wên lei-chü,19 since they all deal more with exegesis, it is likely they are quotations from the Nei-chuan text that through a copyist's error have been falsely attributed. Tung Ssŭ-chang 20 is probably mistaken in taking them all as parts lost from the Wai-chuan.

The Han[-shu] "Essay" in entering the Han wai-chuan in the Shih classification seems to be doing so by analogy with the Nei-Chuan. Wang Shih-chên 21 speaks of the Wai-chuan as quoting the Shih to illustrate the story, not telling the story to throw light on the Shih; his remark is very apt. Today the explanations of the Shih contained in the Nei-chuan are lost, while the Wai-chuan has no connection with the interpretation of the Shih. Still, as the sole work of the period preceding Mao Ch`ang, it has been placed at the head of old commentaries of the Shih; as a result when students open the book they do not find what they are first of all looking for. We do not see any sense in so placing it. On the other hand, there is no place for it outside the Shihclassification, and so by analogy with the I wei and the Shang-shu ta-chuan we put it off at the end.


1. Ssŭ-k`u ch`üan-shu tsung-mu 16.10b-11a, Ta Tung Shu-chü ed., Shanghai, 1926.

2. *Han shu 30.4b.

3. *Hsin T`ang-shu 57.4a has a Han shih, hsü ## by Pu Shang ##, commentary by Han Ying, in 22 ch., but no mention of a Han ku; probably the former is intended.

4. Liu An-shih, Yüan-ch`êng yü-lu B.14a ## (Chi-fu ts`ung-shu): "I remember reading in my youth the `Yu yü wu chi' poem in the Han shih" ## ##.

5. Mao shih No. 194.

6. Cf. "Ch`ung-wên tsung-mu hsü-shih" ##, in *Ou-yang wen-chung kung chi 124.3a ##: "Han Ying's text was still extant during the T`ang, but all that remains today are the 10 sections. The Han [shu] `Essay' lists [Han] Ying's works in 50 sections; today we have only his Wai chuan."

7. In his remarks on the poem in question (Shih pu chuan 18.16b, 17a, T`ung-chiht`ang ching-chieh ## ed., vol. 216), Fan Ch`u-i does not mention Liu An-shih specifically, but says merely, "In my opinion the Han text of the Shih is rare today; perhaps [the additional lines] have been arbitrarily supplied by an amateur." ##. The Ssŭ-k`u editors may have had in mind another reference which I have failed to locate.

8. *Jung-chai sui-pi II.8.4b, where he dismisses the story as misleading and pointless.

9. 3/29. The quotation seems to be from memory. The paragraph in question begins "Shun was born in Chu-fêng;" the statement is ##, which in Mencius is not quoted as a remark of Confucius.

10. And not Duke Huan as in *Chuang-tzŭ 5.34a.

11. Likewise Chan-kuo ts`ê 3.81a-83b.

12. In the first reference to the Governor of Po, however, Shên Ming is not mentioned.

13. Hsün tzŭ 3.12b-16a.

14. *Ch`un-ch`iu fan-lu 10.8a.

15. *Po-hu t`ung 1.9b-10a.

16. Actually only 24.

17. This comes from Chang Shou-chieh's commentary on Shih chi 28.5a. I suspect that the Ssŭ-k`u editors were mistaken in attributing it to Li Shan.

18. *Wên hsüan 4.2b; but cf. also 12.28b and TPYL 802.8a, where it is attributed to the Nei chuan.

19. I-wên lei-chü 2.4a; Po-shih liu-t`ieh 1.10b also has the quotation.

20. Ch`ui ying chi 12.7a-b.

21. Wang Shih-chên, Tu shu hou 5.19b ##, Wei-ts`ai-lu ed. ##.

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