Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Hsieh Chang-t'ing

3639953Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Hsieh Chang-t'ingFang Chao-ying

HSIEH Chang-t'ing 謝章鋌 (T. 枚如, H. 樂階退叟), Dec. 28, 1820–1903, poet, scholar, essayist, was a native of Ch'ang-lo, Fukien, a descendant of a literary family. He was sickly as a child. His mother died when he was two years old, and he was brought up by his stepmother. In his early years he was taught by his grandfather. He acquired a wide knowledge, and owing to the stimulus he received during the first Anglo-Chinese war (see under Lin Tsê-hsü) he was interested in political and economic subjects. He spent nearly forty years in preparing for and competing in the various examinations—becoming a senior licentiate in 1849, a chü-jên in 1864, and finally, at the age of fifty-eight (sui), a chin-shih (1877). During this time he made his living by teaching the children of his friends, by serving as a secretary to officials, and by lecturing in various Academies. Following are some of the Academies he directed before he became a chin-shih: Fêng-têng Shu-yüan 豐登書院 in T'ung-chou, and Kuan-hsi (關西) Shu-yüan in T'ung-kuan (both in Shensi, 1869–70); and Tan-hsia (丹霞) Shu-yüan and Chih-shan (芝山) Shu-yüan, both in Chang-chou, Fukien (1872–77).

After becoming a chin-shih Hsieh was appointed a secretary of the Grand Secretariat. Probably finding the post irksome or lacking in prospects, he returned to Fukien and resumed his teaching at the Academies in Chang-chou. In the meantime he also served on the secretarial staff of the arsenal near Foochow (see under Shên Pao-chên). In 1883 he went to Kiangsi to join the staff of the commissioner of education, Ch'ên Pao-ch'ên 陳寶琛 (T. 敬嘉, H. 伯潛, 弢庵, 1848–1935), and in the following year became head of the Po-lu (白鹿) Shu-yüan of Kiangsi, where he served for two or three years. In 1887 he was invited to direct the Chih-yung (致用) Shu-yüan at Foochow, which was established in 1871 by the governor, Wang K'ai-t'ai 王凱泰 (original ming 敦敏, T. 幼軒, H. 補帆, posthumous name 文勤, 1823–1875). There Hsieh taught for sixteen years as an able representative of Chinese traditional education. He died at the age of eighty-four (sui) and lived to see the rise of modern schools which soon replaced all the Academies to which he had devoted most of his life.

Hsieh Chang-t'ing left more than twenty works, of which 16 items, printed at various times, were edited under the collective title, 賭棋山莊全集 Tu-ch'i-shan-chuang ch'üan-chi. The one which attracted the most attention was his collections of short prose writings, entitled Tu-ch'i-shan-chuang wên-chi (文集), 7 chüan, printed in 1884, with one supplement, hsü (續)-chi, 2 chüan, printed in 1892, and another supplement, yu (又) hsü-chi, also in 2 chüan, printed in 1898. He left 14 chüan of poems, entitled Tu-ch'i-shan-chuang shih-chi (詩集), printed in 1888 and 8 chüan of verse in the tz'ŭ style, entitled 酒邊詞 Chiu-pien tz'ŭ, printed in 1889. A supplement to his writings containing his prose, his regular poems, and his tz'ŭ, was printed in 1915 under the title, Tu-ch'i-shan-chuang yü-chi (餘集), 5 chüan. These works, particularly those in prose, contain much information about his own life and the lives of his friends.

In addition, Hsieh left a series of comments on tz'ŭ writing and tz'ŭ, entitled Tu-ch-i-shan-chuang tz'ŭ-hua (詞話), 12 chüan, printed in 1884 with the author's portrait. A supplement in 5 chüan was added later. Five collections of his miscellaneous notes were printed in 1901 under the following titles: 圍爐瑣憶 Wei-lu so-i, 1 chüan; 藤陰客贅 T'êng-yin k'o-chui, 1 chüan; 稗販雜錄 Pai-fan tsa-lu, 4 chüan; 課餘偶錄 K'o-yü ou-lu, 4 chüan; and K'o-yü hsü-lu, 5 chüan. An interesting study was his 說文閩音通 Shuo-wên Min-yin t'ung, printed in 1904, in which he picked out the words in the Shuo-wên (see under Tuan Yü-ts'ai) that could be identified in the prevailing dialect of Foochow.

Hsieh Chang-t'ing was devoted to his friends and they reciprocated his affection. Of these the following may be mentioned: Liu Chia-mou 劉家謀 (T. 仲爲, 1814–1853); Lin Shou-t'u 林壽圖 (T. 穎叔, H. 歐齋, 1822–1898); Ch'ên Pao-ch'ên, who wrote his epitaph; and Wei Hsiu-jên 魏秀仁 (T. 子安, 子敦, chü-jên of 1846, d. 1874, age fifty-six sui), author of the novel, 花月痕 Hua-yüeh-hên (printed in 1888), and other works. Among the thousands of pupils whom Hsieh influenced should be mentioned Lin Shu 林紓 (T. 琴南, pen-name 冷紅生, 1852–1924), poet and painter, who rendered into Chinese, in whole or in part, with the help of translators, 156 titles of Western fiction, including such classics as David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Ivanhoe, Gulliver's Travels, Tales from Shakespeare, Treasure Island, Les Miserables, Don Quixote, and Irving's Sketch Book.

[Fukien t'ung-chih (1922) 文苑 3/17a, 26a, 2/37a; Tu-ch'i shan-chuang ch'üan-chi; Hsiao-shuo yüeh-pao (Short Story Magazine), vol. 15, no. 11 (1924).]

Fang Chao-ying