China Underground > China Book Library: Uncover Rich Chinese Literature and Art > Western Han: A Yangzhou Storyteller’s Script by Vibeke Børdahl and Liangyan Ge

Western Han: A Yangzhou Storyteller’s Script by Vibeke Børdahl and Liangyan Ge

Last Updated on 2020/12/07

This mammoth study is a major contribution to the study of Chinese literature, making available to scholars a rare storyteller’s script from the late Qing period.


The script is published in its complete form, 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 this popular semi-historical narrative. 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.

Critical acclaim: ‘This discovery of a genuine storyteller’s script has huge implications for scholars of traditional Chinese literature, since the novel was modeled on oral storytelling and the exact relationship between them has been a subject of ongoing debate. Publishing the full script will allow scholars to use this rare find to investigate many vital questions in Chinese popular culture’ (Margaret Wan). ’[A]n excellent collaborative effort between two of the most accomplished scholars in the study of Chinese oral literature’ (Mark Bender).


Ph.D., Dr.Phil. Vibeke Børdahl

Vibeke Børdahl, Ph. D., Dr. Phil., senior researcher at NIAS, specialises in Chinese oral literature and dialectology.  Her recent research is concerned with the interplay of oral and written traditions in Chinese popular literature and performance culture.

Her book-length studies and edited volumes include Along the Broad Road of Realism.  Qin Zhaoyang’s World of Fiction, The Oral Tradition of Yangzhou Storytelling, The Eternal Storyteller, Oral Literature in Modern China, Chinese Storytellers- Life and Art in the Yangzhou Tradition, Four Masters of Chinese Storytelling- Full Length Repertoires of Yangzhou Storytelling on Video, The Interplay of the Oral and Written in Chinese Popular Literature.

Liangyan Ge

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.

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