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"China, unlike ancient Greece and Rome, had no Homer or Ovid to retell its ancient myths in an eloquent literary record. Viewed with great skepticism by Chinese scholars of the early Chinese empire, myth was preserved orally, and finally converted into the written tradition only in a very fragmentary way. As a consequence, classical Chinese myth has remained largely unavailable to students and scholars of Chinese culture." "In Chinese Mythology, Anne Birrell provides English translations of some 300 representative myth narratives selected from over 100 classical texts, many of which have never before been translated into any Western language. Organizing the narratives according to theme and motif classes common to world mythology, Birrell addresses issues of source, dating, attribution, textual variants, multiforms, and context. Drawing extensively on works in comparative mythology, she surveys the development of Chinese myth studies, largely in the West; summarizes the contribution of Chinese and Japanese scholars to the study of Chinese myth since the 1920s; and looks at special aspects of traditional approaches to Chinese myth. The result is an unprecedented guide to the study of Chinese myth for specialists and nonspecialists alike."--Jacket.