Myths and Their Transformation in China from Ancient Times to Modern Media Culture

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Photo: Tristram Kenton (The Guardian)
Photo: Tristram Kenton (The Guardian)

On 23 March at 18.00, the lecture of Prof. Dr. Frank Kraushaar "Myths and Their Transformation in China from Ancient Times to Modern Media Culture" will be held at the National Library of Latvia, Baltic Research Centre for East Asian Studies Library (AsiaRes) Reading Room (level M). Free entrance.

China has a rich mythology that is still almost unknown to the western world. This seems at least partially to be the result of the fact that in Chinese literature, the world’s most voluminous and rich with traditions, myths barely unfold in epic vastness. Instead, they are usually recorded in a fragmentary and laconically dry manner, which arguably does not suggest the vitality of myths.

However, throughout the twentieth century and up to the present day, there were countless cultural figures both in and outside of China, who adapted myths in new mass media thus shedding a new light upon them. Anthropologists, ethnographers and archaeologists are simultaneously discovering new evidences of previously disregarded myths’ versions in oral traditions and unstudied literary materials that complement or significantly change the imperial orthodox views on the role of myths in Chinese culture.

In this lecture, the most prominent myths will be discussed in the context of mythological image as seen in literary tradition. The second part of the lecture will include insights on some contemporary works that grant myths a completely new strength of expression.