Selections from Record of the Listener

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Record of the Listener (Yijian zhi) is a renowned zhiguai collection from the Song Dynasty written by Hong Mai during his later years. Recording stories of the strange circulated by word of mouth, it is the largest zhiguai compilation of the Song period-originally comprising 420 chapters. Its rich content includes topics such as gods and ghosts, injustice and retribution fantasy and the uncanny, as well as regional customs. The Record of the Listener has enjoyed a privileged place in Chinese literary history; indeed, numerous vernacular short stories and dramas have sought inspiration from its storylines. It also preserves much precious research material on daily life during the Song.
Nevertheless, the value placed on quantity and minimal selectivity in the original work led to an unwieldy, rambling corpus. For this volume, Professor Alister Inglis of Simmons College, Boston USA, has selected and translated a total of 113 stories which typify the collection's overall nature. All the stories encapsulate a charming narrative quality which will hold readers spellbound while, at the same time, heighten understanding of society during the late Northern/early Southern Song era.
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Selections from Record of the Listener