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A Study on the Thematic, Narrative, and Musical Structure of Guan Hanqing’s Yuan «Zaju, Injustice to Dou E»


Yumin Ao

This book is a study of the thematic, narrative, and musical structure of Yuanqu xuan [A Selection of Yuan Plays] edition of the Yuan zaju (variety play) Dou E yuan [Injustice to Dou E] originally composed by the highly regarded playwright Guan Hanqing (fl. 1260). Although other authors have studied these three aspects of Dou E yuan separately, this is the first comprehensive treatment of the topic as a scholarly monograph in English. Yumin Ao’s analysis is based on the edition of the play in the Yuanqu xuan [A Selection of Yuan Plays] compiled by the Ming publisher Zang Maoxun (ca. 1550–1620). Ao proposes that Dou E yuan, as a dramatic narrative which develops through its enactment on the stage rather than by verbal presentation as a story, displays its integrative structure of narration through its thematic development and within its musical conventions.
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Note on Translations and the Textual Editions of Dou E yuan


Unless otherwise indicated, all translations from ancient, medieval, and modern Chinese works below are my own. When translations have been taken or adapted from other works, I have given the relevant bibliographic details in the footnotes.

I base this study on Zang Maoxun’s Yuanqu xuan version of Dou E yuan and use the modern edition in the collection of Wang Jisi , Quan Yuan xiqu [A Complete Collection of Yuan Dramas], vol. 1 (Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubanshe, 1999), 181–211.

Note that English translations of this edition of Dou E yuan are generally from the translation by Qian Ma, Women in Traditional Chinese Theater: The Heroine’s Play (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 2005), 50–86.← xi | xii →

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