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Drama KingsPlayers and Publics in the Re-creation of Peking Opera, 1870-1937$
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Joshua Goldstein

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520247529

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520247529.001.0001

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(p.xii) (p.1) Introduction
Drama Kings

Joshua Goldstein

University of California Press

Peking opera is by far the most famous of China's approximately 360 theatrical genres. It is also the only one that, despite being named after a locatable city, is not merely categorized as a regional drama but put in a category of its own, either explicitly or implicitly placed under the rubric of “national drama”. Yet, despite its valorized position, the origin of Peking opera remains controversial, because Peking opera is a composite and ever-shifting fusion of several melodic and dramatic forms. For many drama historians, this is precisely why discerning its aesthetic essence and combing its tangled past into a manageable history pose such an enticing challenge.

Keywords:   Peking opera, Republican era, China, national drama, drama historians

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