Wu Song Fights the Tiger: The Interaction of Oral and Written Traditions in the Chinese Novel, Drama and Storytelling

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by Vibeke Børdahl

The focus of Chinese literary studies has long been on the written word even though Chinese fiction and drama have strong oral roots and have been shaped by an interplay between oral and written traditions. The culmination of decades working on this issue – and using as its lens the story about how the legendary hero Wu Song killed a tiger with his bare hands – this volume explores Chinese oral professional storytelling and its relations with literary culture in the past and present.

"Using the Wu Song story as the observing window, the author examines virtually every single aspect of the relationship between orality and writing in the Chinese context … This is an endeavor unsurpassed both in breadth and in depth … Many of her findings may have very important implications for future studies in traditional Chinese fiction and drama as well as in Chinese oral and folk literature." – Liangyan Ge, University of Notre Dame

Vibeke Børdahl, Ph. D., D. Phil., senior researcher at NIAS, has been described as one of the most accomplished scholars in the study of Chinese oral literature. As well as doing much research on the interplay of oral and written traditions in Chinese popular literature and performance culture, over the past decade she has translated the full work of Jin Ping Mei into Danish.

Publication year: 2013
576 pp / 229mm x 152mm
71 figures
ISBN: 978-87-7694-109-3, Paperback
ISBN: 978-87-7694-108-6, Hardback

NIAS Press