Special Section Theory Studies Comparative Biography Text Studies Autobiography Studies Oral History Studies History of Biography Subject Study Film Biography Studies From Life Writers
“Give to Caesar What Is Caesar's, and to God What Is God's”: The Founding Father of Huajian Ci: Life of Wen Tingyun and My Life Writing Career

Abstract: Life of Wen Tingyun is one of the book series Biographies of Chinese Historical and Cultural Figures and my fifth biography. Starting from writing proses, my focus has gradually shifted to biographies, so the influence of prose-writing is ubiquitous in my life writing, especially on the structure. Life of Wen Tingyun is no exception. The sympathetic understanding advocated by the historian Professor. Chen Yinque is the fundamental attitude guiding my practice, as reflected in Life of Wen Tingyun. A good biography should be professional and readable to ensure both truth and rich details. The gaps in historical documents should be filled with imagination and, in so doing, the biographer should prevent the imagination from impairing truth. Therefore, the boundaries of the truth and the imagination are definite and shall not be crossed. In Life of Wen Tingyun, all the imagined details are clearly labeled to “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

Keywords: Li Jinshan, biography, Wen Tingyun, influence of prose-writing, cross-proving of poems with history