- Co-creations, Master Texts, and Monuments: Long Narrative Poems of Ethnic Minority Groups in China
- CHINOPERL: Journal of Chinese Oral and Performing Literature
- University of Hawai'i Press
- Volume 38, Number 2, December 2019
- pp. 65-90
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This paper concerns publications of long narratives, both oral and written, associated with ethnic minority groups across China. What is the situation and value of these many published versions that have been gathered and “processed” since just after 1949 down to today? Opinions vary among both Western and Chinese scholars about the legitimacy of many of the texts, perhaps due to the various “filters” applied in the process of collecting, transcribing, editing (sometimes to the extent of “enhancing”), translation, and publication. Moreover, a number of these texts have been constructed out of several versions of the same narrative to produce what I have called enriched “master texts”—in ways comparable to the treatment of oral and oral-connected material in the creation of the Finnish Kalevala. I will discuss these publications in terms of “co-creation” and translation, “processing,” format, native-Chinese translation teams, and the concept of these epics as “monuments” to traditional cultures that have altered swiftly under the forces of modernization and globalization.