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Norman Hinsdale Pitman

(1876 - 1925)

Norman Hinsdale Pitman (1876–1925) was an American author and educator who contributed to the dissemination of Chinese folklore to English-speaking audiences in the early 20th century. Though not as widely recognized as some of his contemporaries, Pitman's work is notable for its role in bridging cultural divides and sharing aspects of Chinese culture through the art of storytelling.

Born in Illinois, Pitman had a career that took him far from his American roots. He ventured to China at the turn of the century, where he immersed himself in the local culture and traditions as he took up teaching positions in Chinese educational institutions. His experience in China greatly influenced his writing, leading him to translate and adapt a variety of Chinese tales into English.

Pitman's most popular compilation, "The Chinese Fairy Book" (1919), gathers myths, legends, fairy tales, and fables from Chinese traditions. His retelling of these stories was done with a sensitivity to the source material, while making them accessible and engaging for a Western audience.

Though his name may not be as prominent in literary history as some of his peers, Pitman's work made an important cultural contribution. By bringing these tales to new readers, he not only preserved them but also fostered a greater appreciation for the richness of Chinese folklore outside of its country of origin.

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