A History of Chinese Drama by William Dolby

 - ISBN 0 236 30903

 - Published by Eleck Books Ltd, London, 1976 these are second-hand (used) hard-backed books in good condition.

((( Interestingly, we have located a 1997 edition of this book. It currently remains unpublished but  if there is any external interest in such then we would only be too happy to discuss )))


From the cover of the original first edition the following description is taken:

This volume gives the first substantial outline in any western language of Chinese theatre, from its origins to the present day. Dr Dolby work is a pioneer introduction to one of the most vital and vivid aspects of Chinese life through the centuries, as well as to what, in many ways, has been the most potent genre of Chinese literature and entertainment.

Dr Dolby pursues the origins of Chinese theatre back to the court-jesters, wrestlers, tumblers, troubadours, story-tellers, puppeteers, preachers, Bhuddist missionaries, dancers, slapstick clowns and singing girls of ancient times, and probes the emergence of drama consciousness and of the first proto-dramatic institutions. He thereafter discusses each of the major forms of Chinese drama, from the Yuan zaju theatre, which flourished during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries under mogul conquest, right up to the Peking Opera, Western style drama, and other twentieth-century developments. Close attention is paid to the interactions between the drama of the imperial court and that of the villages and markets and also to the wider social significance of drama in China.

Individual outstanding plays are considered in detail, and extended passages are quoted in the authors own new translation: many of these plays have never previously been translated. A bibliography of translation into Western language is provided.

This book puts the whole complex subject of Chinese drama into perspective, contributing considerably to scholarship in unraveling problems of terminology and historical derivation, highlighting numerous problems for further research, and offering fresh coherence in this rich field of study. Dr Dolby has provided an invaluable reference book not only for the sinologist and all who are concerned with drama and its history and its theory, but also for the general reader who may wish to know something of a subject of universal significance.