My Opinion on the Use of Style in Compiling the Qingshi (Qing History)

December 2009
Chinese Studies in History;Winter2009/2010, Vol. 43 Issue 2, p55
Academic Journal
The compilation of a new, voluminous Qing History is a national project to organize and preserve Qing historical sources. It aims to preserve historical memory and produce a national history of the Qing dynasty for future generations. With respect to its historiographical significance, the project should be guided by the idea of "one principle with multiple approaches" (yidao duoyuan), whereas in terms of its stylistic form, it is better to adopt the traditional annals-biographic style (jizhuan ti) with some modern modification. In historiography, it should focus on narration in addition to historical commentary. In the idea of history, it should establish the confidence that displays the spirit of a modern historian and dispose of the anxiety and fear caused by simple-minded and one-dimensional ways of thinking. The project should concentrate its energy on compiling the annals-biographies in their revised form, the treatises, tables, biographies and illustrations. It should pay attention to the essential work of source criticism and find the best scientific methods to address the difficulties and present the foci so that breakthroughs can be effected to outshine A Draft History of the Qing [Qingshigao] and make the Qing History on a par with the twenty-four dynastic histories of the past. It is unrealistic to compile a formal standard history of the Qing on the basis of multiple topical histories; nor can it simply be a combination of a general narrative history of the Qing and a number of monographic studies.


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