Edited by C. T. Hsia, Wai-yee Li, and George Kao, Columbia University Press, 2014
This anthology features translations of ten seminal plays written during the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), a period considered the golden age of Chinese theater. By turns lyrical and earthy, sentimental and ironic, Yuan drama spans a broad emotional, linguistic, and stylistic range. Combining sung arias with declaimed verses and doggerels, dialogues and mime, and jokes and acrobatic feats, Yuan drama formed a vital part of China’s culture of performance and entertainment in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. To date, few Yuan-dynasty plays have been translated into English. Well-known translators and scholars have supervised the making of this collection and add a short description to each play. A general introduction situates all selections within their cultural and historical contexts.