A Topsy-Turvy World: Short Plays and Farces from the Ming and Qing Dynasties (Translations from the Asian Classics) (Paperback)

A Topsy-Turvy World: Short Plays and Farces from the Ming and Qing Dynasties (Translations from the Asian Classics) By Wilt Idema (Editor), Wai-Yee Li (Editor), Stephen H. West (Editor) Cover Image

A Topsy-Turvy World: Short Plays and Farces from the Ming and Qing Dynasties (Translations from the Asian Classics) (Paperback)

By Wilt Idema (Editor), Wai-Yee Li (Editor), Stephen H. West (Editor)

$45.00


Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days

Playwriting in many forms flourished during the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. Shorter theatrical genres in particular offered playwrights opportunities for experimentation with both dramatic form and social critique. Despite their originality and wit, these short plays have been overshadowed by the lengthy masterpieces of the southern drama tradition.

A Topsy-Turvy World presents English translations of shorter sixteenth-to-eighteenth-century plays, spotlighting a lesser-known side of Chinese drama. Satirical and often earthy, these mostly one-act plays depict deceit, dissembling, reversed gender roles, and sudden upending of fortunes. With zest and humor, they portray henpecked husbands, supercilious and lustful monks, all-too-human sage kings, disgruntled officials, and overreaching young scholars. These plays provide a glimpse of Chinese daily life and mores even as they question or subvert the boundaries of social, moral, and political order.

Each translation is preceded by a short introduction that describes the play's author, context, formal qualities, and textual history. A Topsy-Turvy World offers a new view of a significant period in the development of the Chinese theatrical tradition and provides insight into the role of drama as cultural critique.
Wilt L. Idema is professor emeritus of Chinese literature at Harvard University. Wai-yee Li is the 1879 Professor of Chinese Literature at Harvard University. Stephen H. West is Louis Agassiz Emeritus Professor of Chinese, University of California, Berkeley, and Emeritus Foundation Professor of Chinese at Arizona State University.
Product Details ISBN: 9780231208970
ISBN-10: 0231208979
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication Date: October 10th, 2023
Pages: 432
Language: English
Series: Translations from the Asian Classics