South of the Clouds

Tales from Yunnan

Edited by Lucien Miller
Translated by Guo Xu, Lucien Miller, and Xu Kun

  • $30.00s paperback (9780295973487) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 1994
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies; History
  • Bibliographic information: 342 pp.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

The tales included here represent all of Yunnan Province's officially designated ethnic minorities, and include creation myths, romances, historical legends, tales explaining natural phenomena, ghost stories, and festival tales. The tales are peopled by memorable characters, such as the Tibetan mother who, reborn as a cow, comforts and helps her daughter into her harsh life as a slave girl; the two Kucong sisters who marry snakes; and the bodiless Lahu "head-baby" who grows up to win one of the earth-god Poyana's daughters in marriage. Chosen for their representativeness, aesthetic appeal, and variety, the stories provide rich examples of the folk traditions of Southwest China.

South of the Clouds includes introductions and an appendix which describe the places and people of Yunnan, analyzethe literary and psychological characteristics of their stories, give the sources of the tales, and explain the methodolgy of collecting folk literature in China.

"A wonderfully entertaining book..The exotic loveliness of the Yunnan landscape comes through very clearly in the details of clear waters sunlit hillsides, bamboos and banyans and eucalyptus. Universal folklore motifs abound, but are given new twists of imagination and wit. There are moments of great beauty, others of earthy comedy, others of considerable pathos."
-Cyril Birch, editor of Anthology of Chinese Literature

"The translation is outstanding. I know of no translation of Chinese folk literature that can rival it."
-David Knechtges , editor and translator of Wen Xuan, or Selections from Refined Literature