This anthology features translations of ten seminal plays written during the Yuan dynasty (1279--1368), a period considered the golden age of Chinese theater. By turns lyrical and earthy, sentimental and ironic, Yuan drama spans a broad emotional, linguistic, and stylistic range. Combining sung arias with declaimed verses and doggerels, dialogues and mime, and jokes and acrobatic feats, Yuan drama formed a vital part of China's culture of performance and entertainment in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
To date, few Yuan-dynasty plays have been translated into English. Well-known translators and scholars have supervised the making of this collection and add a short description to each play. A general introduction situates all selections within their cultural and historical contexts.
C. T. Hsia is professor emeritus of Chinese at Columbia University and is coeditor, with Joseph S. M. Lau and Leo O. Lee, of Modern Chinese Stories and Novellas, 1919--1949.
Wai-Yee Li is professor of Chinese literature and director of graduate studies at Harvard University. She is the author of Enchantment and Disenchantment: Love and Illusion in Chinese Literature and The Readability of the Past in Early Chinese Historiography.
George Kao (1912--2008) was a Chinese American author, translator, and journalist who served as director of the West Coast office of China's Government Information Office and as editor in chief of the Chinese Press.