Gao Wen was a Song Dynasty historian, essayist, and author of modest success.
His most famous work, The Chronicle of the Sword Witch, was composed while traveling with an outlaw duelist. Gao Wen never published the work, but the pair’s exploits were widely known. References appear as early as 1129CE and include orders for their arrest from over half the provinces of their time.
The manuscript was considered lost until it re-surfaced in an acquisition of several large private libraries by Tsinghua University in 1979. Unfortunately, much of the original text had become indecipherable due to poor storage conditions. What remains are incomplete vignettes amounting to a travel log with an unusual amount of violence.
Scholars now consider Gao Wen a pioneering figure of both the Song era travel genre and the practice of investigative or undercover journalism. Some posit Gao Wen as history’s first “live-blogger,” though the seriousness of this claim is a matter of some dispute.