These studies develop a more open way of reading China's traditional narrative literature, in which publishing culture, religious culture, historical circumstance and social institutions all play a part. The concept of vernacular culture is discussed in broad terms and explored through particular examples.
This volume, which marks Glen Dudbridge's retirement as Shaw Professor of Chinese at Oxford University, brings together fourteen of his research papers published over more than thirty years. They form three themed groups: books and publishing; medieval narrative and religious culture; vernacular culture. Each group presents a mixture of discursive pieces with more technical and empirical research, and most of the papers also have links that reach across the division into groups.
Glen Dudbridge retires in 2005 as Shaw Professor of Chinese, University of Oxford, after a career of forty years during which he has written on China's narrative traditions, religion, mythology and publishing culture. Among his books are The Hsi-yu chi (1970), The legend of Miaoshan (1978, rev. ed. 2004), The tale of Li Wa (1983),Religious experience and lay society in T'ang China (1995), Lost books of medieval China (2000).