William Dolby

Classical Chinese Translations and Research

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1: Kuan Han-Ch'ing: China's first Playwright


Book Details

Written in 1967 and self-published in 2003, this work represents the 1st of 33 of the Chinese Culture Series.

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Drama has played an enormous part in Chinese society through the ages, and Kuan Han-ch'ing (ca. 1220-ca. 1300) was not only the first known Chinese playwright, but a brilliant one, whose work continues to be greatly admired, and to reverberate in many ways, in modern Chinese life. Flourishing during the reign of the Mongol emperor Khublai Khan in the then mightiest metropolis of the world, ancient Peking, the Great Capital, he composed many plays, the essential core of which were vivid songs known as ch'u arias, and many memorable independent non-drama ch'u arias.

The ch'u aria genre has been one of China's three major kinds of of poetry through the ages, and this present book, besides being the first major study of Kuan Han-ch'ing, is also the first one on the ch'u aria, in addressing the subject and which then provides the earliest extensive English-language research on the first book about northern Mandarin, the national language of China as Chou Te-ch'ings Pronunciations and rhymes of the Central Plain, examining Kuan's arias in the light of it.