The SŌUSHÉN HÒUJÌ: Latter Notes on Collected Spirit Phenomena Attributed to Táo Yuānmíng (365–427)


Richard VanNess Simmons


The Sōushén hòujì 搜神後記 (Latter Notes on Collected Spirit Phenomena), attributed to the celebrated poet Táo Qián 陶潛 (365-427), is a compilation of anecdotes and stories known as zhìguài 志怪 ('records of the anomalous') that document strange and unusual phenomena the author observed in his lifetime. Intended to serve as a sequel to Gān Bǎo's 干寳 (d. 336) Sōushénjì 搜神記 (Collected Spirit Phenomena), the original text was lost but was reconstructed in the late Míng dynasty. This volume presents an annotated translation of the entire Míng version of the Sōushén hòujì as well as of an additional set of surviving stories that were identified and restored to the text by the modern scholar Lǐ Jiànguó 李劍國. The book also includes a history of the Sōushén hòujì text, an examination of its linguistic style and characteristics, a discussion of the historical nature of its contents and how it fits into the zhìguài genre, providing a window onto medieval Chinese society and culture, and a brief overview of recent zhìguài scholarship to guide readers who hope to continue their exploration of the genre. 


Cover for AOS 100


May 24, 2022