Chinese Storytelling


Vibeke Børdahl

Jette Ross



Articles and Interviews

For entries written in Chinese, see character version of title in the Chinese part of this website


Articles 1990-2014

By Vibeke Børdahl

With Photos by Jette Ross

(since 1997)

1990 'Literary and Colloquial Forms in a Yangzhou Storyteller's Tale', East Asian Institute Occasional Papers, No.6, Copenhagen, pp. 77-87.

1991 '"Square Mouth" and "Round Mouth" in Yangzhou Storytelling', Acta Orientalia, No.52, Copenhagen, pp. 135-147.

1991 'Grammatical Gleanings from a Yangzhou Storyteller's Tale', Cahiers de linguistique asie orientale, Vol. XX, No.2, Paris, pp.169-217.

1992 'Yangzhou pinghua li de "fangkou" he "yuankou"' ['Square mouth' and 'round mouth' in Yangzhou storytelling], Yangzhou pinghua zhi you, No.5, Yangzhou, pp.1-9. Reprinted in Quyi xinxi, 1992, No.29 and 1993 No.30.

1993 '"Wen bai yi du": "Literary" and "Colloquial" Forms in Yangzhou Storytelling', CHINOPERL Papers, No.16, Harvard, pp.29-63.

1993 '"Wu Song Fights the Tiger" in Yangzhou Storytelling', paper prepared for the IXth EACS Congress, Paris, 1992. In: Acta Orientalia, No.54, Copenhagen, pp.126-149.

1994 'Digressions of a Yangzhou Storyteller - The Private Life of the Tiger that Wu Song Killed', in: Outstretched Leaves on his Bamboo Staff. Studies in Honour of Göran Malmqvist on his 70th Birthday, The Association of Oriental Studies, Stockholm, pp.36-45.

1994 'Yangzhou pinghua zhong de "fangkou" yu "yuankou"' ['Square mouth' and 'round mouth' in Yangzhou storytelling], Fangyan [Dialect], Beijing, pp.119-124.

1994 'Den kinesiske fortællerkunst og dens betydning i moderne kinesisk litteratur' [The Art of Chinese Storytelling and its Influence on Modern Chinese Literature], Orientaliska Studier, Stockholm, pp.1-17.

1995 '"Three Bowls and You Cannot Cross the Ridge" - Orality and Literacy in Yangzhou Storytelling', in: Cultural Encounters, Aarhus University Press, pp.121-152.

1995 'Narrative Voices in Yangzhou Storytelling', CHINOPERL Papers, No.18, Harvard, pp.1-31.

1996 'Mund, hånd, krop, trin, blik' [Mouth, hand, body, step, look], about the NIAS workshop 'Oral Literature in Modern China', Copenhagen August 1996, InterPol, 25 August, pp.12-13.

1997 'Professional Storytelling in Modern China. A Case Study of Yangzhou pinghua', paper prepared for The Symposium of ISFNR in Beijing, April 1996, in: Asian Folklore Studies, Vol.LVI-1, pp.7-32.

1997 'Zhongguo shuoshu yu Yangzhou pinghua'[Chinese Storytelling and Yangzhou pinghua], excerpts from The Oral Tradition of Yangzhou Storytelling, 1996, translated by Zhang Yunhe, Quyi jiangtan [Tribune of Oral and Performed Literature], Tianjin, No.3, pp.65-69.

1998 'Yangzhou pinghua zhong de koutou xushu yu "shuokou"' [Oral Narration and 'Speaking Mouth' in Yangzhou Storytelling], Chinese Studies Hanxue yanjiu, No.31 (June), Taibei 1998, 267-287.

1998 Book review: Sanguo yanyi yu minjian wenxue chuantong [The Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Folk Literature Traditions]. By Li Fuqing [Boris Riftin]. Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1997. In: Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews, Vol.20, December1998, pp.197-201.

1998 (Introduction and translation from Chinese with Lucie Borotova): 'Chen Wulou: "Old Questions Discussed Anew. On Huaben"', Asian Folklore Studies, Vol.57-1, pp.131-139.

1999(editor):The Eternal Storyteller. Oral Literature in Modern China, (with photos by Jette Ross), NIAS Studies in Asian Topics, No.24, Curzon Press, Richmond, xvi + 368 pp.

1999 'Introduction', The Eternal Storyteller, [cf 'Books' on this website], pp.1-14.

1999 'A "Poetics" of Chinese Storytelling', The Eternal Storyteller, [cf 'Books' on this website], pp.223-252.

1999 'Chinese Storytellers on Storytelling, Arv - Nordic Yearbook of Folklore, pp.73-92.

1999 'Taiwan: Popular Literature in the Fu Ssu-nien Library of the Academia Sinica', Asian Folklore Studies, Vol.58-1, 1999, pp.231-235.

1999 Book review: Chinese popular Culture & Ming Chantefables. By Anne E.McLaren. Leiden: Brill, 1998. In: Asian Folklore Studies, Vol.58-1, pp.259-263.

1999 (with Jette Ross, photos): 'Kinas evige historiefortæller' [China's Eternal Storyteller], Humaniora, No.4, pp.17-22.

1999 Book review: Text and Tales. Studies in Oral Tradition. Ed. By Jarich G.Oosten. CNWS Publications, Vol.22. Leiden: Leiden University 1994. In: Acta Orientalia, Vol. 60, Copenhagen 1999, p.288.

2000 'In memory of Wang Xiaotang (1918-2000)', Asian Folklore Studies, Vol.59-1, pp.147-150.

2000 'Zhongguo shuoshu yishu de koutouxing yu wentixing: Shuo Yangzhou pinghuade Wangpai "Shuihu"' [Oral and Written Aspects of Chinese Storytelling: On the Wang School of WATER MARGIN in Yangzhou pinghua], paper presented at '99 Nanning International Academic Conference on National Folk Culture', 11-15 November. In: Mian xiang 21shijide minzu minjian wenhua [China's National Folk Cultures Facing the 21 Century], Nanningshi shehui kexueyuan chuban, pp.393-400.

2000 'Zhongguo chuantongde shuoshu yishu - quan shijiede baogui caifu' [The traditional art of Chinese storytelling - a treasure of global importance]. Paper presented at Beijing International Conference for the Performed Arts, 11 November 2000. Extract printed in Quyi [Chinese performed arts], No.12, Beijing 2000, pp.7-8.

2001'Chinese Storytelling: The Interplay of Traditions, IIAS Newsletter, No.24, pp.1, 29. (with photos by Jette Ross).

2001 'Yangzhou pinghua zhong de koutou xushu yu "shuokou"' [Oral narration and 'speaking mouth' in Yangzhou storytelling], Yangzhou quyi zhi you, No. 26, July 2001, pp.1-3.

2001 'Historiefortællerens maneer' [The storyteller's manner], Humaniora, No.3, pp.21-25 (with photos by Jette Ross).

2001 'Ved Jettes død, 7.september 2001' [Taking leave with Jette, 7 September 2001], Kinabladet [China journal], No.12, pp.16-17.

2001 'Jette Ross 1936-2001', Obituary, NIASNytt, No.4.

2001 'Jinian Luo Aide - In Memory of Jette Ross', Yangzhou quyi zhi you, No. 28, December 2001, p. 1.

2001 'Yangzhou pinghua de "koutouxing" yu "wentixing"' ['Oral' and 'literary' features in Yangzhou storytelling], Yangzhou quyi zhi you, No.28, December 2001, p.1.

2001 ‘Chinese Storytelling: The Interplay of Traditions', IIAS Newsletter, No.24, pp.1 and 29 (with photos by Jette Ross).


2002 'Large-scale Registration of Chinese Storytelling', Asian Folklore Studies , Vol. 61-1, pp. 172-175.


2002 'Systematic Recording of Chinese Storytelling Art', China & The World Cultural Exchange , Vol. 60, No. 4, pp. 36-38 (with photos by Jette Ross).


2002 'Review Essay: Epic and Asian Folklore', Asian Folklore Studies , Vol. 61-2, pp. 311-320.


2003 ‘The Storyteller's Manner in Chinese Storytelling', Asian folklore Studies, Vol. 62-1, pp.65-112.


2004 ‘Chinese Storytelling on-line ', in: IIAS Newsletter 34, July 2004, p. 42


2004 ‘Web-publication of Chinese Storytelling', in: NIAS Nytt , No.2, June 2004, p.23.


2004 ‘The Voice of Wang Shaotang in Yangzhou Storytelling', C HINOPERL Papers, No.25, pp. 1-34.


2005 ‘Storytellers' Scripts in the Yangzhou pinghua Tradition', Acta Orientalia, No. 66, pp.227-296.


2007 ‘A Drum Tale on Wu Song Fights the Tiger ', CHINOPERL Papers , No. 27. Special issue on Storytelling, pp. 61-106.


2007 ‘The Man-Hunting Tiger from “Wu Song Fights the Tiger” in Chinese Traditions', Asian Folklore Studies, Vol. LXVI, 1-2, pp. 141-163.


2009 ‘ Written Scripts in the Oral Tradition of Yangzhou Storytelling', in Lifestyle and Entertainment in Yangzhou , edited by Lucie Olivová and Vibeke Børdahl, NIAS Press, Copenhagen, pp. 245-270


2010 “ Storytelling, Stock Phrases, and Genre Conventions--The Case of ‘Wu Song Fights the Tiger'”, in The Interplay of the Oral and the Written in Chinese Popular Literature , edited by Vibeke Børdahl and Margaret B. Wan, NIAS Press, Copenhagen, pp. 83-156.


2010 ‘Dialectal and normative registers in Yangzhou storytelling', in: Chinese Language and Discourse, Vol. 1, No. 1: 93-122.


2010 ‘ ‘Wu Song and the Empty Tavern' in Yangzhou Storytelling', in: China and Around. Mythology, Folklore, Literature , Russian State University for the Humanities: Orientalia et Classica: Papers of the Institute of Oriental and Classical Studies, Issue XXV, Moscow , pp. 412-26.


2011 ‘Two versions of “Wu Song Fights the Tiger” from the Yangzhou Pinghua Tradition', in: Victor H. Mair & Mark Bender (ed.): The Columbia Anthology of Chinese Folk and Popular Literature, New York : Columbia University Press: 433-471.


2013 ‘ Chinese Storytelling—Transmission, Performance, Preservation. The Case of Yangzhou pinghua, in Folk Traditions in Modern Society, eds Pekka Hakamies, Vibeke Børdahl, Sun Jian, Shanghai: Fudan University Press (in press)


2014 ‘ Layers of the Local in Yangzhou Storytelling Wang Shaotang Performs “Wu Song Fights the Tiger” (“Wu Song da hu,” 1961)', in: Yangzhou – A Place in Chinese Literature, Roland Altenburger, Margaret B. Wan and Vibeke Børdahl eds., Hawai'i University Press (in press).

Interviews 2001-2013

Interview: 'A Dane's lifelong love for Yangzhou stories, China Daily, 21 December 2001.

2001 Interview: 'Danmai nu jiaoshou yu Yangzhou pinghua' [A Danish Female Researcher and Yangzhou Storytelling], Huaren shikan No.18, pp. 6-27, and Yangzhou quyi zhi you, No.24, March.


2001 Interview: 'Et sted for skæve ideer' [A Place for Odd Ideas], September, Humaniora, No.3.

2002 Commentary: Fan Jingyi: 'Jing ting yangren shuo pingshu' [Much to my surprise I heard a foreigner performing storytelling! About Vibeke Børdahl's presentation at Beijing International Symposium on Protection and Legislation of Folk/Traditional Culture], Xinmin wanbao, Shanghai, 22 January 2002, p.1.


2002 Interview: Flemming Poulsen: 'Historiefortællere på bånd - Dansk kinaforsker igang med stort projekt', [Storytellers on video - Danish sinologist involved in a major project], Kinabladet, Nr.13, pp.12-13.


2005 Feature article: Gui Guo, Wu Jun: '8 ge guojia he diqu 18wei xuezhe lai yang jinxing 3 tian yantao: Yangzhou Ming Qing wenhua mizui haiwai “fensi”' [18 Researchers from eight countries visit Yangzhou for a 3 days' workshop] (On the International Workshop Lifestyle and Entertainment in Yangzhou, 20-22 October 2005, organized by Vibeke Børdahl and Lucie Olivova, with support from NIAS and the Norwegian Research Council), Yangzhou wanbao , 2005, 23 October, p.1 and p.2.


2006 Interview: Cai Xiaorong: ‘ Yangzhou pinghua shi kouchuan wenxue ma?'[Is Yangzhou storytelling oral literature?], in: Tushu haiwai , pp.78-79.


2007 Portrait: ‘Yangzhou pinghua jiajin Meiguo guohui tushuguan—“Wangnian jiao” Danmairen Yi Debo qianxian daqiao' [Yangzhou storytelling ‘enters a new home' in Library of Congress in USA—my friend of a younger generation, Vibeke Børdahl, acted as ‘a matchmaker' and a bridge builder' , Interview with Fei Li, in: Yangzhou wanbao, November 28, and online:


2008 Research report and portrait: Guo Wei: ‘Yi Debo yu Yangzhou pinghua qingjie' [Vibeke Børdahl and Her Relationship with Yangzhou Storytelling], in: Journal of Quangxi Teachers Education University (Social Science Edition) , Vol. 29, No.1: 1-4. Reprinted in: Guo Wei: Caogen wenxue kuaile xiezuo—Guo Wei minjian wenxue xin lunji , Dazhong wenyi chubanshe, 2008, pp. 179-187.


2008 Portrait: ‘Kinaveteran: Vibeke Børdahl – tyve år med kinesiske historiefortællere' [Twenty Years with Chinese storytellers], Interview with Anette Kruse , in: Kinabladet , No. 37: 6-9.


2009 Portrait: ‘Yi Debo lai Yangzhou yanjiu “shuohua yishu”', [Vibeke Børdahl visits Yangzhou in order to study oral literature], by Miu Chen, Yangzhou ribao, 11.10.2009.

2009 Portrait: ‘Danmai nüxuezhe zai chu “Yangzhou shu”' [The Danish female researcher Vibeke Børdahl publishes still another Yangzhou book', by Wang Jin, Yangzhou wanbao, 11.10.2009.


2009 Portrait: ‘Ta ba Yangzhou pinghua shuo gei shijie ting, Danmai hanxuejia Yi Debo xiele 7 ben Yangzhou zhuanzhu' [She tells the world about Yangzhou storytelling. The Danish sinologist Vibeke Børdahl has written seven works about Yangzhou ], by Wu Jing, Yangzhou wanbao, 30.10.2009.


2009 Portrait: ‘ Yangzhou pinghua, tonghua yiyang youmei' [ Yangzhou storytelling is as beautiful as fairy tales], by Zhou Bao, Yangzhou ribao, 30.10.2009.


2009 Portrait: ‘Xiehou Yi Debo boshi' [Meeting Dr. Vibeke Børdahl], by Wang Weiguo, Yangzhou wanbao, 14.11.2009.  

2009 Event: ‘Shuoshu shi, Cao Cao da OK ruhe?' [What about Cao Cao saying OK in storytelling?], by Gui Guo, Yangzhou wanbao, 1.12.2009.


2009 Event: ‘Yi Debo dandang “ Yangzhou pinghua haiwai dashi” [Vibeke Børdahl is taking on the responsibility of being “Ambassador for Yangzhou storytelling in the West], by Gui Guo, Yangzhou wanbao, 5.12.2009

2009 Event: ‘Shuoshu shi, Cao Cao da OK ruhe?' [What about Cao Cao saying OK in storytelling?], by Gui Guo, Yangzhou wanbao, 1.12.2009.


2011 Interview: ‘Danmai nü jiaoshou de Yangzhou qingjie. Ji Yi Debo yu Yangzhou pinghua' [A Danish female professor and her relationship to Yangzhou . About Vibeke Børdahl and Yangzhou storytelling.] Webpage: < 3096.html > 9 August 2011.


2013 Event: ‘Danmai zhuming hanxuejia Yi Debo lai wo sheng jinxing wenhua fangwen' [The famous Danish sinologist Vibeke Børdahl visits our province], by Cui Zhe, Yanzhao dushi bao, 25.04.2013.