The Novel and Theatrical Imagination in Early Modern China

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Mei Chun / BRILL / 282页 / Hardcover / USD 132.00 / 2011-1-7

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The cultural fascination with and imagination of theater has long been overlooked as an important historical and literary context for reading Water Margin and Journey to the West. This study focuses on the concept of "the theatrical" to read those novels and their commentaries. Imbued with performances, playacting, spectacles, and spectatorship, the early modern theatrical novel borrowed heavily from theater to conflate the theatrical and the real, juggle theatrical roles, persons, and identities, and contest orthodoxies by challenging and appropriating sites of control and authority. This study showcases the theatrical novel's unique position as a new form of literati self-representation in response to the destabilizing social and political forces of early modern China.

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