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A Topsy-Turvy World

Short Plays and Farces from the Ming and Qing Dynasties
Columbia University Press
1. Auflage
Erschienen am 12. Oktober 2023
432 Seiten
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978-0-231-55771-9 (ISBN)
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Playwriting in many forms flourished during the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. Shorter theatrical genres in particular offered playwrights opportunities for experimentation with both dramatic form and social critique. Despite their originality and wit, these short plays have been overshadowed by the lengthy masterpieces of the southern drama tradition.

A Topsy-Turvy World presents English translations of shorter sixteenth-to-eighteenth-century plays, spotlighting a lesser-known side of Chinese drama. Satirical and often earthy, these mostly one-act plays depict deceit, dissembling, reversed gender roles, and sudden upending of fortunes. With zest and humor, they portray henpecked husbands, supercilious and lustful monks, all-too-human sage kings, disgruntled officials, and overreaching young scholars. These plays provide a glimpse of Chinese daily life and mores even as they question or subvert the boundaries of social, moral, and political order.

Each translation is preceded by a short introduction that describes the play's author, context, formal qualities, and textual history. A Topsy-Turvy World offers a new view of a significant period in the development of the Chinese theatrical tradition and provides insight into the role of drama as cultural critique.

West Stephen H.:
Stephen G. West is professor of Chinese at Arizona State University. He is the author of Monks, Bandits, Lovers, and Immortals: Eleven Early Chinese Plays (with Wilt Idema). (Cambridge: Hackett Press, 2010); Battles, Betrayals, and Brotherhood: Early Chinese Plays on the Three Kingdoms (with Wilt Idema). (Cambridge: Hackett Press, 2012); The Generals of the Yang Family: Four Ming Plays (with Wilt Idema) (Singapore: World Scientific Press, 2013); and others.Wilt L. Idema is professor emeritus of Chinese literature at Harvard University.

Wai-yee Li is the 1879 Professor of Chinese Literature at Harvard University.

Stephen H. West is Louis Agassiz Emeritus Professor of Chinese, University of California, Berkeley, and Emeritus Foundation Professor of Chinese at Arizona State University.
Table of Dynasties
1. Cracking a Dumb Chan Riddle
2. The Mad Drummer: Thrice-Played Yuyang
3. Chan Master Yu Has a Dream of Cuixiang
4. Real Puppets
5. Sublime Jokes from the Back of Beyond
6. Pinning Flowers in His Coiffure
7. A Song for a Laugh
8. Ramblings with Magicians in Lyrics and Songs
9. Black and White Donkeys
10. Zaju from the Studio of Singing on the Wind
11. Song of Dragon Well Tea
Appendix: A List of Short Plays from the Period 1400 to 1850 Already Available in English Translation

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