This volume provides English translations of some 300
representative myth narratives selected from over 100 classical
texts. Organizing the narratives according to themes and motifs
common to world mythology, Anne Birrell addresses issues of source,
dating, attribution, textural variations, multiforms, and context.
Drawing on work in comparative mythology, she surveys the
development of Chinese myth studies, largely in the West;
summarizes the contribution of Chinese and Japanese scholars to the
study of Chinese myth since the 1920s; and looks at special aspects
of traditional approaches to Chinese myth. The result is a guide to
the study of Chinese myth for specialists and non-specialists
The first serious and comprehensive introduction to Chinese mythology aimed at both the specialist and general reader. It is splendidly organized with well-chosen texts, lucid commentary, and useful supplementary matter... Sets new standards in the presentation of Chinese mythology. Asian Affairs We must all thank Professor Birrell for providing an incredibly bountiful source, containing all manner of practical and fascinating information within its framework of myths. This book should find many uses and readers-it is a superb resource for teaching about Chinese myth, literature, history, religion, culture, and thought. -- Suzanne Cahill The Journal of Asian Studies One can safely expect to see this volume in all libraries that serve educated general readers as well as even the most modest academic libraries. Anne Birrell is to be congratulated for bringing this arcane subject matter into the grasp of a wide variety of readers outside the China-studies area. -- Robert E. Hegel Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews
Anne M. Birrell, whose previous books include Popular Songs and Ballads of Han China and New Songs from a Jade Terrace, has taught Chinese literature at the City University of New York and the University of Cambridge.