The Interplay of the Oral and the Written in Chinese Popular Literature

edited by Vibeke Børdahl and Margaret B. Wan

272 pp., illustrated
NIAS Studies in Asian Topics # 46
Available from NIAS Press worldwide




Hardback - 2010, Available
ISBN 978 87 7694 054 6, £45.00
Paperback - 2010, Available
ISBN 978 87 7694 055 3, £16.99


  • Examines the interrelationship between oral (or performing) and written traditions in Chinese popular literature
  • Offers enquiries into new material and gives astonishing responses to old controversies
  • Provides interdisciplinary perspectives on Chinese popular entertainment literature from the Ming dynasty to the present
  • Makes an excellent contribution to the literature in its field.

 
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.
 
Through 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 contributors well versed in their subject, these essays are highly scholarly and analytical treatments of the issues. Through their more detailed knowledge about Chinese verbal art in performance, or first-hand understanding of living traditions, the authors provide fresh insights to the understanding of 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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