The Modern Chinese Folklore Movement coalesced at National Peking University between 1918 and 1926. A group of academics, inspired by Western thought, tried to revitalize the study of folklore to stave off postwar disillusionment with Chinese elite culture. By documenting this phenomenon’s origins and evolution, Jie Gao opens a new chapter in the world history of the Folklore Movement. Largely unknown in the West and underappreciated in China, the Chinese branch failed to achieve its goal of reinvigorating the nation. But it helped establish a modern discipline, promoting a spirit of academic independence that continues to influence Chinese intellectuals today.
1 Seeking a Solution for the Nation: The Folklore Movement’s Origins at National Peking University
2 Carrying on amidst Chaos: Establishment of Folklore Studies in South China
3 Developing an Excellent Situation: The Spread of the Folklore Movement in China
4 Breaking with the Past: The Folklore Movement in Wartime
Appendices; Notes; Glossary; Bibliography; Index
Every scholar of twentieth-century China will need to read this book. Gao has read and analyzed every shred of material that exists on the Folklore Movement and has created a fresh understanding of how it emerged and its long-term influence.
Laurence Schneider, professor emeritus, Department of History, Washington University