Well I just made a “discovery” only to find that someone else has already made the same discovery. This happens to me a lot. I came across a “Vietnamese” text called the Unofficial History of Linh Nam (嶺南逸史, Linh Nam dật sử). “Linh Nam,” or Lingnan in Chinese, means “south of the passes” and is an old Chinese term for the area of what is today Guangdong and Guangxi provinces. This text was originally written in classical Chinese, but it was translated into vernacular Vietnamese and published in Saigon in 1968. It is an historical novel which, according to the Vietnamese version, was translated from Mường into classical Chinese in the thirteenth century.

In actuality, however, this was a Chinese novel which was written during the mid-Qing, and which some Vietnamese later “localized.” I thought that it would be interesting to compare the Vietnamese and original Chinese texts, but it turns out that someone has already done this. In particular, someone by the name of Lin Tingjun 林亭君 recently (2009) completed an MA thesis (《嶺南逸史》研究 [Research on the Lingnan yishi]) at Chenggong University in Taiwan on this very topic (see below).

There are so many works of Vietnamese literature which were inspired by earlier Chinese works. This is apparently yet another example. What is interesting about this work is that it apparently deals with ethnic minority peoples who lived on the border between China and Vietnam. It would therefore be interesting to examine this work to see how the Vietnamese adapted it to present the same information from their side of the border.

摘要

《嶺南逸史》為清代中葉廣東地區白話通俗小說,小說以明中葉廣東盜賊之亂與兩廣瑤亂為歷史背景,描寫文武兼備的廣東書生黃逢玉,奉父命離家探望姑母,在旅途中分別與四位能文能武的佳人許婚,歷經瑤亂與動亂,在佳人的協助下,順利敉平戰亂,安靖地方以至論功封侯的故事。在清代小說研究中,《嶺南逸史》長期以來被研究者所忽略,作者整合廣東地區的史料書寫,主觀願望乃是將之寫成歷史演義小說,卻也為研究者所忽略。然而,此部作品流傳至越南之後,不僅出現改寫本與譯本,作者人物改換身分,甚至被認為是越南的歷史。《嶺南逸史》在小說的瀚海中沉沒已久,應是正視其內容、釐清其類屬的時候。

本論文共分為六章。第一章為緒論,提出本論文的研究意識,從文獻回顧彙整現有研究並確定本論文的研究方法與範圍。第二章分為三節,分別說明《嶺南逸史》作者生平、小說版本、及其流傳情形,做為往後論述的背景基礎。第三章從歷史的面向探討分析《嶺南逸史》與廣東地方文獻的關係,列舉小說與廣東地方文獻《廣東新語》《永安縣次志》的參考化用,分別就史地資料的運用,觀察史料與文學的再創造,正視作者以小說承載歷史的努力。第四章則從《三國演義》、才子佳人小說、以及《隋唐演義》等文學作品切入,比較《嶺南逸史》在人物情節與場景的參考化用,並從其跡證找到文學作品之間相連的臍帶。第五章是將文本的比對從歷史與文學擴展到域外的改寫本,探討《嶺南逸史》的域外改寫,越南本《嶺南逸史》被認為是越南的作品,情節人物皆發生於越南當地,本章茲就作者、內容比對中越版本的異同,並討論越南本的改寫動機,肯定《嶺南逸史》各文本的獨特性與重要性。第六章則為結論。

Abstract

“Ling Nan Yi Shi” is a popular colloquial fiction in Guangdong area during the middle period of Qing Dynasty. This fiction is based on the history of bandits in Guangdong and minority turmoil in Guangdong and Guangxi. It describes an excellent intellectual, Huang Fengyu, who was a master of both the pen and sword. He left home to visit his aunt by the order of his father. On his way there, he married four different pretty women, who then helped him to defeat the turmoil and fight the bandits. Finally, he got rewarded by the emperor and became a high-ranked government official. In the research of fiction in Qing Dynasty, “Ling Nan Yi Shi” has been neglected for a long time. The author of the novel integrated historical facts of Guangdong area to write this book, hoping that this novel could be viewed as a historical novel. Unfortunately, this book has still been neglected by researchers. However, when spreading to Vietnam, the novel was not only adapted, translated, changed the name of the author and the identities of characters, but also believed that it described real Vietnam history. “Ling Nan Yi Shi” has been neglected in this field for a long time. It is time to interpret and classify it properly. This paper can be divided into six chapters.

The first chapter is a preface illustrating points of view, research methods and purpose of the present study. The second chapter can be subcategorized into three sections, elucidating the author’s life, clarifying the edition of the fiction, and describing the spread of the fiction separately. The third chapter analyzes the relationship between “Ling Nan Yi Shi” and the literature of Guangdong area, exemplifying the fact that “Guangdong Xin Yu” and ”Youg An Xian Ci Zhi” are the references of the fiction and admiring the author’s efforts of using historical facts to recreate a great novel in the literature. The fourth chapter tries to find out a connection among different literatures by comparing ”San Kuo Yen I”, Scholar-Beauty Romance, and “Sui Tang Yen Yi” with “Ling Nan Yi Shi”. The fifth chapter compares the novel with its Vietnam adaptation. Vietnamese believe this fiction is a local work, and that the writing of its plot and characters is based on Vietnamese life. They also believe that it is written by a Vietnamese. This chapter focuses on discussing the authors and contents of the two versions, aiming at finding out the reason behind the adaptation and approving of the uniqueness and importance of different versions of “Ling Nan Yi Shi”. The sixth chapter concludes the present study.