My project is the translation of a late Ming vernacular story “The Record of the Ming Grand Confucian Wang Yangming’s Early Years and Suppression of Rebellions” (Huang Ming daru Wang Yangming xiansheng chushen jingluan lu 皇明大儒王陽明先生出身靖亂錄, "The Record") by Feng Menglong 馮夢龍 (1574-1646), the famous writer and editor. This is the first story in a late Ming story collection Randomly Picking up the Three Teachings (Sanjiao ounian 三教偶拈).
Based on previous research, “The Record” is a narrative developed from Wang’s chronicles (nianpu 年譜). By comparing the biography and the chronicle, it can be seen that much of Feng’s effort is devoted to transforming the chronicle into a literary biography rather than making Wang a better figure, because the glorification of Wang had already taken place in the chronicle. In the chronicle, Wang is a saint who is extraordinary in philosophical thinking as well as martial arts; Feng just developed these episodes into a coherent narrative. Such a development into a narrative is important in the sense that it developed a historical record into a literary depiction. In addition, for the fact that “The Record” is a vernacular story and could be read by people from different educational backgrounds, the relationship between elite and popular culture embodied in this story is also worth investigating.