The overall aim of the Wu Song Project is to explore the interplay of the oral and the written in Chinese popular culture, see Aim. The tale of ‘Wu Song Fights the Tiger’, found in a variety of versions in novel, drama and performed narrative arts, is the focal example, see Content. Through analysis anchored in the collection of the Wu Song Project the special linguistic and narrative forms of the various instances of this tale are uncovered. The purpose is to bring out the contrastive patterns that become apparent from the categorization and comparison of a number of features of the tale.
The database contains both written and oral texts. Written texts are found in original text as scanned pages, in transcription into computerized Chinese characters, which can be searched, and in translations into English. Oral texts are found in audio- or video recordings, in transcription directly from the recordings into Chinese characters and in translations into English. The core material of versions of the tale ‘Wu Song Fights the Tiger’ are analysed into a number of categories. see System.
The database includes the catalogue for the project ‘Large-scale Registration of Chinese Storytelling’. Four masters of Yangzhou pinghua – Dai Buzhang 戴步章, Fei Zhengliang 費正良, Gao Zaihua 高再華 and Ren Jitang 任繼堂 – had their full repertoires filmed on video in Yangzhou 2001-2003 and archived on VCD, 360 hours of storytelling. Four sets of the entire collection have been donated to research libraries in Beijing, Taipei, Copenhagen and Washington D.C. The video collection contains unique source materials on Chinese storytelling. This is the first time storytellers’ repertoires are registered and provided in day-to-day performances, based solely on the storytellers’ own habits of progression and division (not shortened, rearranged or otherwise manipulated for extraneous purposes). A bilingual volume (English and Chinese) serves as a guide and catalogue to these collections, Four Masters of Chinese Storytelling (BØRDAHL, FEI Li 費力 and HUANG Ying 黃瑛 eds. 2004). The catalogue entries of the database are authored by the storytellers in Chinese and translated into English.
Oral and written texts related to Yangzhou oral performance culture: Yangzhou drama, Yangzhou storytelling, Yangzhou story-singing and Yangzhou ballad-singing. For the format of written texts, audio- and video recordings, cf. The Wu Song Project Collection above.
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