Chinese Literature 235. Theater and Theatricality in Early Modern China

course poster for chinese literature 235 painting of actor in traditional chinese costume Tom Kelly photo
Prof. Tom Kelly

This seminar charts the development of Chinese dramatic literature from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries. We will focus on the close reading of major works in the zaju, xiwen, and chuanqi forms, examining how the theater shaped new practices of writing and reading. The seminar will follow two central themes: 1) the shifting relationship between the figures of the playwright and the actor; 2) the interplay between the spaces of the page and stage. Engaging with recent scholarship, we will reflect on how modes of theatrical performance and spectatorship transformed broader understandings of self and society. Our discussions will seek new frameworks for approaching the place of the theater in Chinese literary history.  

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