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Six Records of a Floating Life

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Six Records of a Floating Life (Chinese: 浮生六記; pinyin: Fú Shēng Liù Jì) is an autobiography by Shen Fu (沈復, 1763–1825) who lived in Changzhou (now known as Suzhou) during the Qing dynasty. The four chapters are Wedded Bliss, The Little Pleasures of Life, Sorrow and The Joys of Travel. Two further chapters are missing (or perhaps not completed): A History of Life at Chungshan and The Way of Living. Yang Yin, the brother-in-law of the prominent writer Wang Tao, found the incomplete manuscript of the work in a second hand book stall. He gave the four parts to Wang, who was in charge of the Shanghai paper, Shen Bao. Wang published the manuscript in letterpress in 1877 and it became an instant bestseller. The Fourth Record was written in 1808, so the book was believed to be finished after that. Based on the index, we can tell that the fifth record is called A History of Life at Chungshan (an experience in Taiwan) and the sixth is called The Way of Living. Later, the fifth and sixth parts which were claimed to have been found in another book stall were declared fraudulent by scholars. The phrase "Floating Life" comes from the preface to a poem by the Tang poet Li Bai: "...The floating life is but as a dream; how much longer can we enjoy our happiness?"
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