Luo Ben (c. 1330–1400), better known by his courtesy name Guanzhong (Mandarin pronunciation: [lwɔ kwanʈʂʊŋ]), was a Chinese writer who lived during the Yuan and Ming periods. He was also known by his pseudonym Huhai Sanren (Chinese: 湖海散人; pinyin: Húhǎi Sǎnrén; literally: "Leisure Man of Lakes and Seas") . Luo was attributed with writing Romance of the Three Kingdoms and editing Water Margin, two of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.
Luo is confirmed to have lived in the late Yuan Dynasty and early Ming Dynasty by the record of his contemporary, the playwright Jia Zhongming (賈仲明), who met him in 1364 . It states that he was from Taiyuan, while literary historians suggest other possibilities about his home, including Hangzhou and Jiangnan. According to Meng Fanren (孟繁仁), Luo can be identified in the pedigree of the Luo family, and Taiyuan is most likely his hometown.
Recent research has suggested that his date of birth was between 1315-1318.
The stories forming the bulk of Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Water Margin are thought to have been developed by many independent storytellers. Shi Nai'an is thought to be the first to assemble Water Margin into a unified work, and Luo subsequently brought it to the current form of 100 chapters. Luo is usually considered the author of Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
The Three Sui Quash the Demons' Revolt (平妖傳) is a shenmo fantasy story attributed to Luo with 20 chapters, developed from the original pieces of storytelling based on a rebellion at the end of the Northern Song Dynasty, and later expanded by Feng Menglong (馮夢龍) into 40 chapters. Can Tang Wudai Shi Yanzhuan (殘唐五代史演義傳) is a chronicle of the end of the Tang Dynasty and the following Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, a compilation of storytelling pieces based on the rebellion of Zhu Wen.
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