Theater and society in the Ming world

Authored by: Hsiao Li-ling

The Ming World

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  August  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138190986
eBook ISBN: 9780429318719
Adobe ISBN:


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In the thirteenth century, the poet Du Renjie (ca. 1201–82) describes in his sanqu poem “A Peasant Knows Naught the Theater” a country bumpkin baffled by theatrical performance during his visit to the city. Apart from the humor, Du parades the peasant’s unfamiliarity with the theater and his utter confusion about the stage’s simulated reality. The peasant’s confusion arises not from a calculated ontological reflection, but from his inexperience of the theatrical arts. This inexperience suggests a social reality against which the poem’s humor could be understood.

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