This mammoth study is a major contribution to the study of Chinese literature, making available to scholars a genuine storyteller's script from China's Yangzhou oral tradition, dated to the late Qing period (1880-1910). This rare script is published in its complete form (all 367 pages), both in facsimile and transcription, with an English translation also made. Its publication is of high importance not only to preserve knowledge about one of the famous oral traditions of China, but also as a unique documentation of the interplay between orality and literacy in Chinese storytelling. The book is also the first translation into a European language of the popular 'Western Han' narrative, one of a corpus of Chinese semi-historical romances brought to life in recent decades after the discovery in 1974 of the terracotta army commemorating the life and achievements of the first Chinese emperor. Moreover, this storyteller's version is unique and entertaining. The work is an ideal classroom book for students studying Chinese history, literature, oral literature, storytelling, etc.
Vibeke Bordahl is a senior research fellow at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Copenhagen University. Regarded as the world authority on Yangzhou storytelling, she has published widely and contributed greatly to the study of the more general field of traditional Chinese storytelling and related written texts. Liangyan Ge is Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Notre Dame. Seen as being at the forefront of current research on Chinese storytelling, his research interests include premodern Chinese vernacular fiction and the interplay between the oral and the written in Chinese popular culture and literature.