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Unless otherwise specified, the descriptions of sources in this section are extracted from Pierre-Etienne Will and collaborators,Official Handbooks and Anthologies of Imperial China: A Descriptive and Critical Bibliography (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming).
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TitleHuanyou ouji 宦游偶記 [Random Notes from an Official’s Travels]
Topic4.1 Magistrates handbooks: General
Historical periodLate Qing (1797-1911)
AuthorChen Weiyan 陳惟彥
CollectionGuanzhen shu jicheng 官箴書集成
Number of volume10
Publication typeWoodblock

In the Qiangben tang huibian ed. the chapter captions indicate that the material consists of Chen’s drafts (遺稿) arranged by a fellow countryman, Xu Jiansheng 徐建生, while at the end of j. 2 in the 1918 ed. it is his younger brother Chen Weiren who is said to have “recorded” (謹錄) the work. The text is a mix of administrative pieces (correspondence, reports, proclamations, judicial decisions, and more) and records of various affairs narrated in the first person, equivalent to a sort of autobiography. Some entries are provided with footnotes by the author or by others. J. 1 includes entries from the 7 years, beginning in 1894 according to the prefaces (in fact 1893), that Chen spent as a department magistrate and prefect in Guizhou, in Kaizhou 開州 and several other places (see below); it provides much information on local customs, including poppy cultivation and the opium problem. J. 2 is devoted to the other posts he held in his career (see below), with a number of texts dealing with financial problems and salt administration. Chen appears to have been a kind of old-style model official, efficient and close to the people, uncompromising with and intimidating to his colleagues, and in frequent conflict with superiors (there is a detailed entry on his disputes with Duanfang 端方, the reform-minded Liang-Jiang governor-general, in 1907). The prefaces, including Chen’s own, insist on the example offered to future officials by this record of a model official of the former regime; Zhang Jian’s pref. says that Chen’s narrative is a “mirror” of the overthrow of the Qing.

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