Biographies of the Immortals

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The 10-volumed Biographies of the Immortals ( 《神仙傳》 Shenxian Zhuan ) by Ge Hong of the Eastern Jin dynasty was, according to the author's preface, written after the Inner Book of the Master Who Embraces Simplicity ( 《抱朴子內篇》 Baopuzi Neipian ). Besides Laozi and Grandpa Peng, the 84 immortals recorded by this book are not included in the Biographies of Various Immortals ( 《列仙傳》 Liexian Zhuan ). In the version of the Series of Han and Wei Books ( 《漢魏叢書》 Hanwei Congshu ), the number adds up to 92 with some new records cited from the Extensive Records of the Taiping Era ( 《太平廣記》 Taiping Guanji ). The number totals ninety-five with Lu'ao Ruoshi and Hua Ziqi added in the version of the Collection of the Essence of the Daoist Canon ( 《道藏精華錄》 Daozang Jinghua Lu ). According to contemporary scholar, Chen Guofu, the present text is not complete and the lost passages can be found in the Purse of Pearls from the Three Grottoes ( 《三洞珠囊》 Sandong Zhunang ), and the Collection of Stories from the Garden of Immortals ( 《仙苑編珠》 Xianyuan Bianzhu ). The immortals recorded in this book are often cited in literary works of different dynasties. Though not collected in the Daoist Canon of the Zhengtong Era, the book provides valuable reference material for the study of the system of immortals and ancient Daoist literature.