Orphan of Zhao and Other Yuan Plays by Stephen H. West, Wilt L. Idema

By Stephen H. West, Wilt L. Idema

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89 His ultimate aim was to provide a general reader for early drama (一般通用的讀本). Despite Zheng’s desire to make a reading edition, his work is still consulted today mostly as a philological text. The same holds true for the other collated editions of Yuankan texts. The dominant classroom and scholarly text remains the Yuanqu xuan. The reasons why are well expressed by the late Xu Shuofang in his article “Zang Maoxun and His Yuanqu xuan,” in which he addresses the problems inherent in giving up the eminently readable Selection of Yuan Plays for the earlier editions.

At one level, the term remains the same in usage: as a marker between discrete sections of the drama. 45 In the Yuan texts, what later become separate acts are signified as a unit by the use of a single suite of arias, all written to the same rhyme and performed in the same mode. It is usually the case that the designation of mode, which is a common feature of later commercial editions, is missing. This causes little problem, since the suites generally have a set sequence of tunes (taoshu) that are recognizable as belonging to a certain mode by their first aria.

3. See Idema 1996 and West 2004. 4. Shi Junbao 石君寶, Wind and Moon in the Courtyard of Purple Clouds (Fengyue Ziyun ting 風月紫 雲庭), in Idema and West 1982, 236–77; Guan Hanqing 關漢卿, A Beauty Pining in Her Boudoir: The Pavilion of Praying to the Moon (Guiyuan jiaren baiyueting閨怨佳人拜月亭), in West and Idema 2010b, 77–103; Zhuge Liang Burns the Stores at Bowang (Zhuge Liang Bowang shao tun 諸葛亮博望燒屯), in Idema and West 2012, 197–235; Guan Hanqing, The Great King Guan and the Single Sword Meeting (Guan dawang dandao hui 關大王單刀會) and In a Dream Guan and Zhang, a Pair, Rush to Western Shu (Guan Zhang shuangfu Xi Shu meng 關張雙赴西蜀夢), in Idema and West 2012, 236–95, 296–315.

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