The Singapore LGBT encyclopaedia Wiki

What the Master Would Not Discuss (子不語; zǐbùyǔ, alternatively known as Xin Qixie =新齊諧; xīnqíxié) is a collection of supernatural stories compiled by Qing Dynasty scholar and writer Yuan Mei.


The title of the work refers to the passage of the Analects that states, 'Confucius did not speak of strange events, violence, riots and supernatural things.'[1] His reference to the master was criticised as a 'heretical' use of Confucian texts.

Yuan later changed the title to Xin Qixie ("New Strange Events") when he discovered there was a Yuan dynasty text with the title What the Master Would Not Discuss. However, Yuan's collection is still commonly known by its original title.


What the Master Would Not Discuss first appeared in 1788. In contrast to the prevailing Confucian orthodoxy of the imperial court, the 746 short stories depicted a rich tapestry of daily life, including themes of ghosts, sex, betrayal, revenge, transvestism, homosexuality, and corruption. However, Yuan defended the collection, as the whims of an ageing man enjoying his last days as much as possible, though the content of his stories relates to many of his personal grievances with the Confucian establishment.

The work was so popular that the government censored it in 1836 during attempts to suppress anti-establishment sentiment.


The stories were collected over a lengthy period of time. The sources included oral accounts from friends and relatives, official gazettes, or other collections.

In popular culture[]

One of the supernatural creatures mentioned in this collection called the Hua Po (花魄), literally Floral Spirit, is a recurring demon in the popular Japanese video game series Megami Tensei.

External links[]




  1. Shu Er, Analects(《论语·述而》): "子不语怪、力、乱、神。”

Works cited[]

  • Template:Cite thesis
  • Template:Cite book
  • Template:Cite book