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Wang Shiyuan, Guardian of Folk Literature

At the end of 1970s, Wang Shiyuan embarked on what she called an endless journey to rescue folk literature in Northeast China's Helongjiang Province.


Born in Heilongjiang, Wang Shiyuan can still clearly remember the tales told by old people when she was very young. Wang worked as an editor of folk literature in the late 1950s. Her enthusiasm towards folk literature ensued. At the end of the 1970s, she was transferred to chair the Helongjiang Folk Art and Literature Association. Since then, she has taken on the tough task of collecting and sorting out folk stories which hadn't been well recorded before.


It was not as easy as Wang had originally imagined. There were only two staff members and no materials ready for them to collect. But this wouldn't hold Wang back. With great interest and efforts, she continued to study by herself and collected first-hand materials from folk people. Her efforts saw great benefits. The following years saw the emergence of a large number of collections in folk literature and folklore. More than 30 books or articles, totaling 7 million Chinese words, have been published since the 1980s. Her achievements are of great significance because she was among the first to record and publish folk literature in Helongjiang and thus kept it from perishing. Many of her books, such as Folk Stories of the Manchu Ethnic Group, and Folk Stories of the Hezhe Ethnic Group, have won prizes at the provincial and the national levels.


(chinaculture July 5, 2006)

Comprehensive Collection of Chinese Folk Literature
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