Oral Traditions in Contemporary China

Oral Traditions in Contemporary China

Healing a Nation

Juwen Zhang


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In Oral Traditions in Contemporary China: Healing a Nation, Juwen Zhang provides a systematic survey of such oral traditions as folk and fairy tales, proverbs, ballads, and folksongs that are vibrantly practiced today. Zhang establishes a theoretical framework for understanding how Chinese culture has continued for thousands of years with vitality and validity, core and arbitrary identity markers, and folkloric identity. This framework, which describes a cultural self-healing mechanism, is equally applicable to the exploration of other traditions and cultures in the world. Through topics from Chinese Cinderella to the Grimms of China, from proverbs like “older ginger is spicier” to the life-views held by the Chinese, and from mountain songs and ballads to the musical instruments like the clay-vessel-flute, the author weaves these oral traditions across time and space into a mesmerizing intellectual journey. Focusing on contemporary practice, this book serves as a bridge between Chinese and international folklore scholarship and other related disciplines as well. Those interested in Chinese culture in general and Chinese folklore, literature, and oral tradition in particular will certainly delight in perusing this book.


Juwen Zhang:

Juwen Zhang is professor of Chinese and folklore at Willamette University, Salem, Oregon.