Page:Sun Tzu on The art of war.djvu/23

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xxi
Introduction

Wu, either as a general or as a writer. It is natural, in view of this awkward circumstance, that many scholars should not only cast doubt on the story of Sun Wu as given in the Shih Chi, but even show themselves frankly sceptical as to the existence of the man at all. The most powerful presentment of this side of the case is to be found in the following disquisition by 葉水心 Yeh Shui-hsin:[1] —

It is stated in Ssŭ-ma Ch‘ien’s history that Sun Wu was a native of the Ch‘i State, and employed by Wu; and that in the reign of Ho Lü he crushed Ch‘u, entered Ying, and was a great general. But in Tso’s Commentary no Sun Wu appears at all. It is true that Tso’s Commentary need not contain absolutely everything that other histories contain. But Tso has not omitted to mention vulgar plebeians and hireling ruffians such as Ying K‘ao-shu,[2] Ts‘ao Kuei,[3] Chu Chih-wu[4] and Chuan Shê-chu.[5] In the case of Sun Wu, whose fame and achievements were so brilliant, the omission is much more glaring. Again, details are given, in their due order, about his contemporaries Wu Yuan and the Minister P‘ei.[6] Is it credible that Sun Wu alone should have been passed over?[7]

In point of literary style, Sun Tzŭ’s work belongs to the same school as Kuan Tzŭ,[8] the Liu T‘ao,[9] and the Yüeh Yü,[10] and may have


  1. Yeh Shih 葉適 of the Sung dynasty [1151—1223]. See 文獻通考, ch. 221, ff. 7, 8.
  2. See Tso Chuan, 隱公, I. 3 ad fin. and XI. 3 ad init. He hardly deserves to be bracketed with assassins.
  3. See pp. 66, 128.
  4. See Tso Chuan, 僖公, XXX. 5.
  5. See p. 128. Chuan Chu is the abbreviated form of his name.
  6. I.e. Po P‘ei. See ante.
  7. 遷載孫武齊人而用於吳在闔閭時破楚入郢爲大將按左氏無孫武他書所有左氏不必盡有然穎考叔曹劌燭之武鱄設諸之流微賤暴用事左氏未嘗遺而武功名章灼如此乃更闕又同時伍員宰嚭一一銓次乃獨不及武邪.
  8. The nucleus of this work is probably genuine, though large additions have been made by later hands. Kuan Chung died in 645 B. C.
  9. See infra, p. 1.
  10. I do not know what work this is, unless it be the last chapter of the 國語. Why that chapter should be singled out, however, is not clear.