Li Baojia

Li Boyuan (Chinese李伯 元, Pinyin lǐ Boyuan ) (* 1867, † 1906) is a Chinese writer and publicist of the late imperial period.


Li Boyuan is also known as Li baojia (Chinese李宝嘉). Some of his writings were published under a pseudonym, which were also used by other writers who published in a similar style and similar issues. The authorship of certain works is therefore controversial. Two of the secured pseudonyms are Nanting ting zhang (Chinese南 亭 停 长) ( " guardian of the southern pavilions " ) and Zhuyuan Xinzhe (Chinese竹园 新 者) ( "The new Lord of the bamboo garden ").


Li Boyuan was born in 1867 in Wujin, Jiangsu Province. His father passed away very early, which is why he is brought up by his uncle, who held temporarily the duties of a prefect. He probably gets the traditional training that allows him to achieve a lower rank officials. Later he bought the post of auxiliary officers, but soon emigrated to Shanghai. There he founded in 1897 the tabloid Youxi bao (Chinese游戏 报) ( " Entertainment " ), the first of its kind, which exerts great influence on subsequent publications. In 1901, he fails an exam for higher offices of state and rejects a job in a different city from; likely he will remain in Shanghai ( at the time the concession area ) to avoid censorship. In the same year he published a work on the Boxer Rebellion, Gengzi Guobian tanci (Chinese庚子 国 变 弹词) ( " Ballad of the rebellion from the year gengzi "). 1903 Li Boyuan acts as editor of the prestigious journal Xiuxiang Xiaoshuo (Chinese绣像 小说) ( " Illustrated narrative art " ), in which he partially published his own satirical writings, which are all huge audience. As a political writer, he can be assigned to the reformists of the late Qing period; of violent and total revolution he is however critically. In 1906 he died in Shanghai, at the age of only 39 years.


The first major publication is Gengzi Guobian tanci (Chinese庚子 国 变 弹词) ( " Ballad of the rebellion from the year gengzi " ), which will be published in 1900. In it Li sets in traditional tanci form deals with the Boxer Rebellion. The political events and social changes in his native China, at that time dominated by a immere weaker rule of the Qing Dynasty and the presence of foreign colonial powers will deal with it in all future works.

From 1903 ( the book version will be published until 1906) ( " The Bureaucrats ") appears in a magazine Guanchang xianxingji (Chinese官场 现形 记). The episodic novel consists of 60 chapters, however, remains unfinished. It is a satirical denouncing abuses in the examination system for civil servants, purchase of office, corruption and failure of justice. Probably, like many other authors of such writings, he was influenced by Wu Jingzi (Chinese吴敬梓) and whose book waishi Rulin (Chinese儒林外史). A German translation is available: The house to the common happiness. Trans. by M. Liebermann and W. Bettin, Berlin: Rütten & Loening, 1964.

Its appearance will also periodically Xiaoshi Wenming (Chinese文明 小 史) ( " A Short History of Civilization" / "Modern Times" ), first in the " illustrated narrative art " under a pseudonym (see above). This episodic novel critically examines the concept of culture apart, especially in the relationship between China and abroad. Adoption of Western science and technology on the one hand recognized as necessary, but on the other hand criticized false zeal for reform, abuse, corruption, selfishness and incompetence of the officials. The role of women and the issue of the Chinese diaspora are subject. Together with the " bureaucrats " it is probably Lis -known work. An English translation is available: Modern Times. A Brief History of Enlightenment. Übers by Douglas Lancashire. Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Renditions Book, 1996.

Between 1903 and 1906 appeared DIYU Huo (Chinese活 地狱) ( "Living Hell" ), a collection of 16 independent stories about the evil machinations of the officials. In 1904 he began the publication of Zhongguo xianzaiji (Chinese中国 现在 记) ( " The current situation of China" ). After 12 chapters of the work on this novel, however, was not continued.

Effective history

Not only the political- satirical episode novels were a great success with the public and were often copied, Lis work as a publisher exercised great influence on subsequent publications.