The Global White Snake
Explores the modern transformation and global travels of one of China's great folk legends
The Global White Snake examines the Chinese White Snake legends and their extensive, multidirectional travels within Asia and across the globe. Such travels across linguistic and cultural boundaries have generated distinctive traditions as the White Snake has been reinvented in the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and English-speaking worlds, among others. Moreover, the inter-Asian voyages and global circulations of the White Snake legends have enabled them to become repositories of diverse and complex meanings for a great number of people, serving as reservoirs for polyphonic expressions ranging from the attempts to consolidate authoritarian power to the celebrations of minority rights and activism.
The Global White Snake uncovers how the White Snake legend often acts as an unsettling narrative of radical tolerance for hybrid sexualities, loving across traditional boundaries, subverting authority, and valuing the strange and the uncanny. A timely mediation and reflection on our contemporary moment of continued struggle for minority rights and social justice, The Global White Snake revives the radical anti-authoritarian spirit slithering under the tales of monsters and demons, love and lust, and reminds us of the power of the fantastic and the fabulous in inspiring and empowering personal and social transformations.
Praise / Awards
“This rigorous and exciting study presents a folk narrative and its transmutations that will provoke new theoretical directions for examining the relations between traditional and tradition-inspired narrative. The Global White Snake brings together the relevant sources, versions, and theory that will show readers a clear idea of the White Snake narrative tradition and its meanings in various literary, performative, and social contexts. The compelling, stimulating, fascinating scholarship will deepen and expand readers’ understanding of the Chinese vernacular literary/live-performance traditions, as well as the emerging means of transmission and creativity in virtual, online, digital formats.”
—Mark Bender, The Ohio State University
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