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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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May Fourth Realism and Qi Rushan’s Theory of National Drama

May Fourth Realism and Qi Rushan’s Theory of National Drama

(p.134) Chapter 4 May Fourth Realism and Qi Rushan’s Theory of National Drama
Drama Kings

Joshua Goldstein

University of California Press

This chapter explains the various factors that contributed to Peking opera's transformation from a relatively loose and elastic dramatic form to a much more rigidly delimited genre used almost exclusively to represent “traditional Chinese” subject matter. While it starts with a discussion of May Fourth intellectual attacks on Peking opera as an inherently feudalistic and backward art form, it also suggests the need to revise the dominant narrative of the era. The chapter notes that the May Fourth moment was as much defined by the discursive engagement of intellectuals reductively characterized as conservatives as by self-proclaimed radicals. More importantly, the dichotomies so characteristic of this moment were not the enlightened products of a Chinese cultural avant-garde. Rather, they took hold so pervasively because they articulated experiences already embodied in urban daily life practices and public spaces.

Keywords:   May Fourth intellectual attacks, Peking opera, urban daily life, traditional Chinese

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