The Interplay of the Oral and the Written in Chinese Popular Literature
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272pp. January 2011
The Interplay of the Oral and the Written in Chinese Popular Literature
Editor: Bordahl, Vibeke; Wan, Margaret B.;
Although the interrelationship between oral (or performing) and written traditions in Chinese popular literature is an issue that concerns practically everybody who reads or teaches Chinese literature, surprisingly it has never been properly treated in a scholarly forum before. For that reason alone, this volume is especially important and deserves serious consideration from scholars and students in the field.

With subjects ranging from Ming vernacular fiction to popular prints and contemporary storytelling and folk ballads, this volume examines the interplay of oral and written traditions in China from interdisciplinary perspectives. Literary criticism, linguistic analysis, fieldwork, folklore studies, and the exploration of visual sources all bring out vital perspectives on central questions. Exploring the traditions of professional storytelling and popular entertainment literature in China, they offer enquiries into new material and give astonishing responses to old controversies. In going beyond the simple binary oral versus written, the essays in this volume ask not whether a text bears a relationship to the oral tradition, but how and to what extent.

Written by expert contributors, these essays are highly scholarly and analytical treatments of the issues. Through their detailed knowledge about Chinese verbal art in performance or first-hand understanding of living traditions, they provide fresh insights for understanding how the oral and the written interact. Overall, this well-edited and well-written volume makes an excellent contribution to the literature in its field.

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NIAS Studies in Asian Topics, No. 46
Distributed for NIAS Press (Nordic Institute of Asian Studies)
For sale only in the U.S., its dependencies, Canada, and Mexico


NIAS Studies in Asian Topics, No. 46
Distributed for NIAS Press (Nordic Institute of Asian Studies)
Editor: Bordahl, Vibeke; Wan, Margaret B.;
Vibeke Børdahl is a senior research fellow at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, University of Copenhagen. Her research focuses on Chinese oral literature and dialectology, grounded in a thorough investigation of the living tradition of Yangzhou storytelling. Margaret B. Wan is assistant professor of Chinese literature at the University of Utah. She has published on Chinese fiction, the interaction of Chinese ballad texts and the novel, and local literature.



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