Friday, July 30, 2010

Oriental Accents -- Myths and Legends of China

I haven't done one of these in a while, and with my vacation starting today, as soon as I finish some radio recording for next week, I'll have some free time. Since I'm working on the Flying Swordsmen RPG and plan to get a lot done over the break, I'm also going to do some inspirational reading with a couple of the books on my shelf that I haven't read for some time. Thought I'd share with the rest of you.

Myths and Legends of China, by E.T.C. Werner, was published in 1922. The edition I've got is from Dover Books, and was reprinted in 1994. The link at Amazon is apparently a facsimile of the original, now public domain.

The book offers a good overview of Chinese society, and the scope of Chinese mythology, as it's a mishmash of animist, Taoist, Confucian, Buddhist, and folk influences. It's got information on lots of gods great and small, some origin myths and hero myths, a condensed version of Journey to the West, lots of 'fox legends' and some general mythical geography/strange monstrous people live here stories.

The other book I plan to re-read in the near future is Strange Tales of Liaozhai, by Pu Songling.

This is a collection of short stories written in the 18th century, but have a Chinese fairy tale quality to them. Most are about scholars who are tricked or seduced by various goblins, ghosts, flower spirits, or of course fox spirits. All are supernatural, and they are again very evocative.

It's been a while since I've read either one, so I think it's about time I re-read them, and shared them with you. I'm also planning on ordering some of the English translations of Louis Cha (Jin Yong), one of the most popular wuxia authors in China and giving them a read, so I'll be sure to post about them after reading.

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks for posting this with links. Bookmarked.