A Study on the Thematic, Narrative, and Musical Structure of Guan Hanqing’s Yuan «Zaju, Injustice to Dou E»
Chapter One: Guan Hanqing, His Zaju Composition and the Editions of Dou E yuan
On the basis of the sources from the Yuan period, we can assume that the compositions of the Yuan dramatists were excluded from the canon of Chinese literature at that time. Although little is known about his life, Guan Hanqing was a very prolific zaju playwright and had rich experience of contemporary theatre performance. Guan Hanqing, however, suffered historical neglect, and there was no scholarly work specifically devoted to him until the second half of the twentieth century.1 Only since then has Guan Hanqing been regarded as one of the most ← 13 | 14 → important Yuan zaju masters. Guan Hanqing was a landmark figure in the history of traditional Chinese theatre, and was as significant in his own way for Chinese drama as Shakespeare was for the history of English theatre.
But we must also note that many basic details of Guan Hanqing’s life are disputed, and we do not have any original play scripts of Dou E yuan written by Guan Hanqing himself. Guan Hanqing’s plays were mutable, dramatic products enacted on the stage and written in various versions. The earliest GMJ edition of Dou E yuan appears to have been based on play scripts from the Ming imperial archives, as were other commercial editions. The authors and editors of these texts probably modified the form of the play.2 We now also know that the standard edition of the play in the YQX has been edited and modified by Zang Maoxun, with changes made...
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