The Novel and Theatrical Imagination in Early Modern China by Mei Chun

By Mei Chun

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While using the pillow Scholar Lu dreams of a successful and extravagant life only to wake up to find that the millet, which the innkeeper was cooking before he fell asleep, was still not ready. Zhong Xing 鐘惺, in “Watching The Dream of Handan on a Boat and Accidentally Writing on My Left” (舟中看<<邯鄲夢>> 傳奇偶題左方),55 purposefully conflates the theater time explored in Tang’s play with the real time in which he watches the play, A moment in a boat, Several generations have passed in the world. A moment behind the stove, Several decades in a dream.

It reveals a self-reflexive intertwining of the three theatrical elements of staging, acting, and viewing, a division heuristically followed in Part II that focuses on the examination of the theatrical novel. Visualizing Theatrical Space The attention to theatrical structuring in illustrations prepares late imperial readers, and us, for reading fictional texts. Such images, like For example, Gu Ling 顧苓 comments that the Shuihu illustrations by the famous and eccentric painter and fiction illustrator Chen Hongshou 陳洪綬 (1598–1652) accentuate the intention of the author through visualization.

49–51, p. 50. 48 For a discussion of Zhang Dai and late Ming sensibility, see Robert Hegel, “Dreaming the Past: Memory and Continuity Beyond the Ming Fall,” Trauma and Transcendence, pp. 345–71. 24 chapter one of the times. In the preface to Tanhua ji 曇花記 (The tale of nightblooming cereus), the playwright Tu Long 屠隆 (1542–1605) claimed that realizing the ephemeral nature of theater could be as revelatory as a Buddhist ceremony. ” The answer is: “All karmic connections are artificial, and theater is the most artificial of all.

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