Cultura International Journal of Philosophy of Culture and Axiology

Volume 19, Issue 2, 2022

About Formations of World Literature(s)

Guo Wei
Pages 57-72

Literary Variation of Indian Buddhist Stories in Chinese 志怪 (Zhi-guai) Novels

In "Literary Variation of Indian Buddhist Stories in Chinese 志怪 (Zhiguai) Novels," Wei Guo discusses Buddhist Sutra scriptures which have been a reservoir of inspiration for Zhiguai novels since their first introduction in Chinese literature. Buddhist texts were less relevant for the "documentary" tradition of Chinese literature owing to their rough structure, vague context, and lack of a sense of history and reality, since they were originally intended as texts of didacticism. Hence, in order to integrate these exotic literary materials with local aesthetic concepts, Chinese writers explored creative adaptations including the addition of adding detail, linguistic embellishments, and the endowment of each story with specific narrative scenes in terms of character, place, and time. Guo argues that Indian Buddhist stories have been remolded in Zhiguai novels and transformed from imaginary religious literature into figurative and documentary literature whereby the convergence of the source texts with the target texts shows the processes of formation of world literature(s).