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The frustrations of heaven's fragrance: an analysis and translation of Guan Hanqing's Qian dayin zhichong xie tianxiang

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This thesis examines the play Qian Dayin zhichong Xie Tianxiang, written by the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) playwright Guan Hanqing (c.1225-1302). The first chapter of this paper provides brief background information about northern style Yuan drama (zaju) as well as a

This thesis examines the play Qian Dayin zhichong Xie Tianxiang, written by the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) playwright Guan Hanqing (c.1225-1302). The first chapter of this paper provides brief background information about northern style Yuan drama (zaju) as well as a plot summary and notes about the analysis and translation. Through a close reading of the play, I hope to illustrate how the play's complicated ending and lack of complete resolution reveals why it has received relatively little attention from scholars who have previously discussed other strong, intelligent female characters in Guan Hanqing's plays. The second chapter of this thesis includes translation of the play that is comprised of a wedge preceding the four acts. Before each act of the play is a critical introduction and analysis of the act to follow. Although many of Guan Hanqing's plays have been translated into English, this play has never been translated.

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2011

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Space of Imagination, Beauty, and Romance: Yuan Sanqu’s Representation of Female Imagery of the Pleasure Quarters

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This dissertation explores the representation of female imagery associated with the Yuan pleasure quarters by examining a reservoir of Yuan sanqu. Previous scholarship has studied this topic using either historical material or zaju drama texts but has more or less

This dissertation explores the representation of female imagery associated with the Yuan pleasure quarters by examining a reservoir of Yuan sanqu. Previous scholarship has studied this topic using either historical material or zaju drama texts but has more or less ignored the voluminous corpus of sanqu. Furthermore, scholarly inquiries of Yuan sanqu either have emphasized its development from the Song ci lyrical tradition or its colloquial features. In consequence, the complexity of sanqu as an independent literary genre has been neglected. Using the representation of female imagery of the pleasure quarters in Yuan sanqu as an entry point, on one hand, this dissertation examines the dynamics of this urban and textual space. On the other, it focuses on rarely-studied sanqu pieces and analyzes them in a new light. The pleasure quarters and the production of Yuan sanqu are closely related to each other. In particular, the pleasure quarters are both revealed through the creative process of sanqu and have established sanqu as a distinctive aesthetic experience. The first chapter will focus on women of the pleasure quarters from the perspective of their hierarchical distinctions in terms of beauty, performative nature, and desirability as companions. Chapter two discusses the representation of women of the pleasure quarters in Yuan sanqu. Distinctive from the exclusive focus on privileged outstanding courtesans in poetic and lyrical tradition, Yuan sanqu depicted women from different registers of pleasure quarters. Thus, the genre formulated a diverse picture of images, rhetoric, and modalities. Chapter three examines a major literary tradition mainly sustained by the Yuan sanqu tradition, which is the story of Shuang Jian and Su Xiaoqing. As one of the most important and widespread literary traditions at play during the Yuan, Yuan sanqu writers’ representation of this pleasure-quarters-based story manifests the fulness and diversity of Yuan sanqu as a distinctive literary genre. In the epilogue, I focus on a zaju script by Ma Zhiyuan and an anonymous song suite in relation to this story. By so doing, I intend to show how Yuan qu lyrics incorporated the poetic, lyrical, and dramatic traditions in a somewhat promiscuous way.

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2021

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Collaboration and Achievement: Wang Hui and His Artistic Exchange with Yun Shouping

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This dissertation studies the artist Wang Hui 王翬 (1632-1717) from the perspective of his friendship with Yun Shouping 惲壽平 (1633-1690). Both artists are famous for their paintings in the early Qing dynasty. The work of Wang Hui has received considerable

This dissertation studies the artist Wang Hui 王翬 (1632-1717) from the perspective of his friendship with Yun Shouping 惲壽平 (1633-1690). Both artists are famous for their paintings in the early Qing dynasty. The work of Wang Hui has received considerable scholarly attention. This dissertation, however, will take a new approach to his work. A major aspect of the research is to examine the collaborative work by Wang Hui and Yun Shouping and the inscriptions written by both of them as primary sources, in an attempt to illuminate the artist’s theory and practice of art. Far from denying the artist’s talent, the emphasis on friendship enriches the exploration of the artist’s possible perception which reinforced his expression through art and situates the artist in his time and place. With elegant gatherings, travels, in-depth discussions, and collaborative art creations, this close friendship amplified Wang Hui’s talent by way of mutual inspiration, and provided the artist with confirmation of his own views, as well as a source of different yet constructive opinions that only a close friend could give. There have been many studies of artists as individual geniuses. In contrast, this study offers the exploration of a friendship between artists that led to new accomplishments. By viewing the artist and his artwork from the perspective of artists’ interactions, I intend to describe and explain early modern painting-related activities in terms of their fundamental connection with human relationships. I argue that painting, especially in the formats and social functions developed in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, played an essential role in the lives of artists in the early modern period. By emphasizing perceptual experience and creative process, I intend to underline the deep connection between art and life.

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2021

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Born of the North Wind: Northern Chinese Poetry and the Eurasian Steppes, 1206–1260

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Based on literary works produced by the multiethnic literati of the Jin dynasty (1115–1234), this dissertation examines Chinese conceptions of the Steppe world in the early years of the Mongol era (1206–1260). As I show, late Jin literati, who took

Based on literary works produced by the multiethnic literati of the Jin dynasty (1115–1234), this dissertation examines Chinese conceptions of the Steppe world in the early years of the Mongol era (1206–1260). As I show, late Jin literati, who took arduous journeys in the Eurasian Steppes, initiated transcultural communications between the Chinese and Steppe worlds. Their writings encouraged more Chinese literati to reach out to the Mongols and hence facilitated the spread of the ideal Confucian-style governance to the Mongol empire. In general, I follow the approach of New Historicism in analyzing poetic works. Even though the Mongol conquest of China damaged many northern literary texts, materials surviving from the thirteenth century still feature a great diversity. I brought historical records and inscriptions on stela to study the social conditions under which these literary works were produced. This dissertation aims to contribute a new voice to the ongoing effort to modify the traditional linear understanding of the development of Chinese literary tradition.

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2020