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The Story of the Western Wing (Writing In Asia)

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  66 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
China's most important love comedy, Wang Shifu's Xixiangji, or The Story of the Western Wing, is a rollicking play that chronicles the adventures of the star-crossed lovers Oriole and Student Zhang. Since its appearance in the thirteenth century, it has enjoyed unparalleled popularity. The play has given rise to innumerable sequels, parodies, and rewritings; it has influen ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published March 31st 1995 by University of California Press (first published 1200)
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Michael
Nov 02, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look at what kinds of things can shock a culture. To my western eyes it's mildly racy at best (and even then only at points) but apparently to Chinese luminaries over the centuries it's a book that's evil to its core.

It's difficult to get the full impact of this play without being steeped in Chinese lore. For example, in the preface it is opined that to fully appreciate Romance of the Western Bower you need to have read the 6th-century BC anthology Book of Poetry because of some pa
...more
Tom
May 26, 2015 Tom rated it it was amazing
Seriously, if you want to call yourself a reader of Chinese lit, this is essential. No excuses.
Greg
Oct 14, 2014 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This 13th century Chinese opera is a classic comedy of Chinese literature. The story is a comedy of errors, in which a scholar traveling to become a civil servant stops for a room at a temple and becomes infatuated with a young woman who is there to perform funeral rites for her father. Her mother has promised her in marriage to another, and of course it is a better financial match for her. However, the man is entirely romantic, and lures her with his beautiful poetry. A great example is the ...more
Larry
Nov 09, 2013 Larry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent translation of one of the great classic Chinese operas, dating from the 13th Century: a tale of duplicity and unrequited love. It starts out like so many opera stories: a young scholar, on his way to take the civil service exams, begs a room at a temple, where he encounters the most lovely, delicate young woman in all of China, there with her mother to perform funeral rites for her father, a renowned official. A dangerous situation ensues, in which the mother promises her daughter ...more
Jie Li
Jun 04, 2013 Jie Li rated it really liked it
Actually I didn’t read the English version of this book, I've just finished reading the Chinese version of it. And I don’t know if the English version can still be such a feast to the mind. Old Chinese classics can be notoriously difficult to translate because of the incorporation of colloquial and literary language and classic poetry like the wildly accepted greatest literature work in China “ the dreams of the old chamber”.
This book is actually an officially banned book in old China. And prej
...more
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