From “Shaoxing Twelve Years” to “Tokyo Dream Recording” Lu Award Writer Xia Jianyong’s Trilogy of Song History Explains Two Songs

Cover news reporter Zhang Jie

When the Song Dynasty is mentioned, people will also think of a large number of outstanding literati in the Song Dynasty, such as Fan Zhongyan, Ouyang Xiu, Wang Anshi, Su Dongpo, etc., and the stars are shining. While appreciating these characters, people will also have a strong interest in the era they lived in. Among the many historical dynasties in China, the Song Dynasty is a dynasty that is favored by modern people, and has a strong affinity and exploration.

Of course, this is firstly related to the high cultural achievements of the Song Dynasty. Chen Yinke, a great historian, once said: “The culture of the Chinese nation has evolved for thousands of years, and it was created in the Zhao and Song Dynasties.” In addition, there are many germs of modern civilization contained in the society of the Song Dynasty, which are also being deeply excavated by modern scholars. , with many surprises, and even called it a “dawn moment” in the modern world.


Song History Trilogy

Why do people prefer the Song Dynasty?

closely related to “cultural inheritance”

In recent years, there have been more and more books and film and television works with the Song Dynasty as the historical background or creative theme. Song poetry, Song Ci, Song Dynasty style, Song Dynasty charm, and Song Dynasty scholars have entered the public eye. Do you know whether it should be green, fat, red and thin”, “Meng Hua Lu” and “Man Jiang Hong” have gained a large number of fans. Excellent popular historical works about the Song Dynasty are not uncommon.

Since 2010, Xia Jianyong, the winner of the first Lu Xun Literature Award and a writer of historical prose, has focused his attention on the history of the Song Dynasty. He has been deeply involved in the history of the Song Dynasty for more than ten years. (“Shaoxing Twelve Years”, “Qingli Four Years Autumn”, “Tokyo Dream Search Record”), published by Yilin Publishing House, and debuted at the 13th Jiangsu Book Fair. At the first sharing meeting, Xia Jianyong and critic Wang Zheng had a dialogue with readers. The two shared with readers the wonderful work “Song History Trilogy” on topics such as contemporary “Song Dynasty craze”, historical prose writing, and how to creatively transform history, taking readers into an interesting, meaningful, and detailed story. In the story of the Song Dynasty.

Among many dynasties, why do modern people prefer the Song Dynasty and like to understand the history of the Song Dynasty? Xia Jianyong specifically mentioned that the temperament of the Song Dynasty was completely different from that of the Qin, Han and Tang dynasties. The rise of the bourgeoisie and the high economic and cultural prosperity marked that the Song Dynasty had almost entered the threshold of modern society. But the military of the Song Dynasty was relatively weak. In general perception, the Song Dynasty was “weak and humiliated”, retreating steadily on the battlefield, had to pay a lot of money for peace, and its great cultural contribution was obscured. In Wang Zheng’s view, the emergence of “Song Dynasty fever” is closely related to the promotion of “cultural inheritance” and “cultural confidence” in contemporary China, and contemporary economic development has also made the public particularly interested in the market economy and commodity prosperity of the Song Dynasty.


Xia Jianyong

“Literary Writing” of History:

Leveraging observations of history from events

The “Song History Trilogy” includes “The Twelve Years of Shaoxing”, “The Fourth Autumn of Qingli” and “Tokyo Dream Search Record”. These three representative historical periods serve as narrative nodes, starting with meaningful historical events such as Yue Fei’s murder, the Qingli New Deal, and Song Zhenzong’s Dongfeng, and entering the historical cross-section to elucidate the subtleties and peel off the cocoons. The narrative time of the work spans the two Song Dynasties, including customs, prices, imperial examinations, art and literature, official system, reform, tea policy, horse policy, degree, post, geography, climate, astronomy, industry, foreign trade, clan, relatives, officials, big and small From the turbulent political struggles and checks and balances between monarchs and ministers to the various world conditions in Goulan and tile houses, it vividly reflects the political situation and social life in the Song Dynasty. It can be called the text version of “Along the River During the Qingming Festival”.

Each of the “Song History Trilogy” will have an intriguing detail at the beginning, which can reflect the background of the whole book. For example, “Tokyo Dream Searching” begins with the plot of soldiers carrying food. There are one million soldiers in Tokyo, and the food is shipped from the east pier of Bianhe City. Therefore, Song Taizu Zhao Kuangyin made a rule that the soldiers’ food should be carried by themselves to the canal wharf, which is also to enhance the combat effectiveness of the soldiers. But in the Song Zhenzong Dynasty, carrying grain had become a mere formality. Whenever the soldiers who had already been pampered to carry grain, they rode on horse-drawn carriages to enjoy the scenery in the city, and then hired people to carry grain. This daily detail reflects the political ecology of Zhao Song at that time, and laid the foundation for the transformation of Song Zhenzong’s thought in the later text.

Xia Jianyong is also good at starting from a specific and micro event to leverage the observation of a period of history. For example, “The Twelve Years of Shaoxing” asks why Song Gaozong must kill Yue Fei; The handling is very heavy and extremely abnormal, which needs to be related to the background of the Qingli New Deal at that time. Regarding “Tokyo Dream Search Record”, it was a sentence in the conclusion of “Song History·Zhenzong Benji” that touched him at the beginning. During the whole country’s nonsense for more than ten years, the author of “Song History” expressed such a sigh: It is strange that the monarch and ministers of a country are mad and crying.

History is the unfolding of human nature. In Xia Jianyong’s view, no matter Song Gaozong, Song Renzong, Song Zhenzong, Song Taizong, Song Huizong, etc. are just “human beings”. If you understand human nature, you will naturally understand these emperors. The subtleties and commonalities of human nature behind it reveal the eternity of human nature.

When carefully reading the “Song History Trilogy”, Wang Zheng also found that Xia Jianyong’s return to history was not simply “traveling”, but “making history present”. return with the fullness of the present.” Therefore, the correct way to open the “Song History Trilogy” is not to regard it as history, but to regard it as “literaryization of history”, a creative transformation of history.


Xia Jianyong (right) is sharing

Reading history requires talent:

Using the literary imagination as a magnet

Rigorous writing attitude, solid historical materials and writing style, the first two volumes of the “Song History Trilogy” have gained excellent reputation after publication, and have won the “Sun Li Prose Award” biennial award, the Zijinshan Literature Award, “Zhongshan “Literary Award, No. 1 in the annual prose category of “Yangtze River Review”, Soochow Literature Award, Taihu Literature Award… and the latest work “Tokyo Dream Searching” was listed in the “Yangtze River Literary Review” annual literature list as soon as it was published. Prose tops the list.

Writing requires talent, and reading requires talent. Xia Jianyong shared his unique reading method for readers. Immersed in Song history for more than ten years, from the official history of the imperial court “Song History”, “Zizhi Tongjian”, “Continued Zizhi Tongjian”, etc., to “Tokyo Menghualu” written by Meng Yuanlao and Zhou Mi’s “Old Things in Wulin” , and then to the big and small barnyard official and unofficial histories, Xia Jianyong said that he is familiar with more than 40 kinds of Song books, not in the way of a historian, but with literary imagination as a magnet, throughout the collection, arrangement and text creation of historical materials, Get the materials you need creatively. Not only “writing history in a literary way”, but also “reading history in a literary way”.

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