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Ts'ao Yu, The Reluctant Disciple of Chekhov and O'Neil

A Study in Literary Influence

Joseph Siu-ming Lau

Publication Year: 1970

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU


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pp. v


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pp. vii

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pp. 1-5

HISTORIANS OF modern Chinese literature have generally used the year 1907 to mark the inception of Western-style drama in China. For in that year, a small group of Chinese students in Japan, inspired by the Japanese experiments with Western drama, decided to follow suit and form the...

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1. Thunderstorm: Its Source and Form

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pp. 6-14

IT IS small wonder that Thunderstorm should have remained a favourite with the Chinese since its first public performance by the China Travelling Dramatic Troupe in Shanghai in the spring of 1936. For the play, despite its artistic flaws, touches upon two of the most sensitive issues involved in the May Fourth Movement: ...

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2. Thunderstorm and Desire under the Elms

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pp. 15-27

CHOU FAN-YI and Abbie Putnam are bound by the most uncomfortable of kinships: they both cherish an incestuous passion for their stepsons. But the circumstances under which they become involved are different. Unlike Fan-yi, who has been tricked into the Chou family, Abbie Putnam has a mind and a body of her own. ...

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3. Sunrise and the 'Tearful' Art of Chekhov

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pp. 28-33

THE INTERIM years between Thunderstorm (1933) and Sunrise (1936) were most beneficial to the progress of Ts'ao Yii's artistry, for in these three years he had gradually become aware of the limitation of his own craft as represented in Thunderstorm. ...

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4. Sunrise and The Cherry Orchard

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pp. 34-42

Sunrise AND The Cherry Orchard are comparable only insofar as they can be viewed as testimonies in witness to the passing of two civilizations. ...

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5. The Noble Savage as a Rejuvenative Symbol

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pp. 43-50

ONE OF the most unusual things about The Wilderness (1937) is the absence of a lengthy preface or postscript which Ts'ao Yii has often used as a kind of expository essay on life and art. To the extent that they furnish first-hand information on the sources and sometimes even unfortunate circumstance s under which the plays were written, these...

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6. The Wilderness and The Emperor Jones as Studies of Fear

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pp. 51-56

FROM A technical point of view, none of Ts'ao Yii's four plays being considered in this study offers a better opportunity for fruitful comparative study than The Wilderness. Though, as indicated early in the previous chapter, not a word is given by the playwright with respect to the genesis of the play, noreader familiar with O'Neill's The Emperor Jones can fail...

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7. Peking Man and the Decline of Chinese Gentility

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pp. 57-64

Peking Man (1940) is the last of Ts'ao Yii's four major plays being considered in this study. Never a favourite with the critics or the readers, this play, its technical flaws notwithstanding, is not only the most mature product of the author, but also one of the dramatic highlights of modern Chinese theatre. ...

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8. Tseng Wen-ch'ing and Ivanov: Portraits of Two 'Superfluous Men'

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pp. 65-74

AT FIRST glance, Tseng Wen-ch'ing seems to have sprung from the same lineal stock that has produced Chiao Ta-hsing in The Wilderness. For one thing, both of them are henpecked, weak-minded, effeminate; for another, both are victims of a domestic tragedy in a woman-dominated family. ...

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pp. 75-78

THUS FAR I have considered four of Ts'ao Yii's eight plays that are of special interest to students of comparative literature and which to me are just about everything in him that is worth considering. For after Peking Man (1940) nothing authored by him has ever risen above the level of what R . G . Collingwood would have called 'art as magic'.1 ...


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pp. 79-83


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pp. 84-87

E-ISBN-13: 9789882202979
Print-ISBN-13: 9780856560057

Page Count: 96
Publication Year: 1970