Introducing a Resource on Music and Oral Performing Literature in the Ming Novel Jin Ping Mei Cihua Made Available in Celebration of the Completion of David Tod Roy’s Translation
- CHINOPERL: Journal of Chinese Oral and Performing Literature
- University of Hawai'i Press
- Volume 33, Number 1, July 2014
- pp. 94-95
- Additional Information
- Purchase/rental options available:
RESEARCH NOTE: INTRODUCING A RESOURCE ON MUSIC AND ORAL PERFORMING LITERATURE IN THE MING NOVEL JIN PING MEI CIHUA MADE AVAILABLE IN CELEBRATION OF THE COMPLETION OF DAVID TOD ROY’S TRANSLATION DAVID L. ROLSTON University of Michigan The (in)famous Ming dynasty novel, Jin Ping Mei cihua 金瓶梅詞話 (Plum in the golden vase), is the first Chinese novel to describe everyday life in one household, that of Ximen Qing. He and his family and his friends are great consumers of a wide variety of traditional Chinese oral performing literature and the consumption of these performances is described in unprecedented detail. The importance of this material was recognized quite early by scholars, who published numerous articles introducing, analyzing, and interpreting it. The purpose of this note is to introduce a resource that I compiled for a conference on music in the Late Ming held in 2006 at the University of Michigan. Entitled at that time ‘‘Imagined (or Perhaps Not) Late Ming Music in an Imaginary Late Ming Household: The Production and Consumption of Music in the Ximen Family in the Jin Ping Mei cihua,’’ it consists of a long introductory essay that introduces the descriptions of oral performance (and music in general) in the novel and compares their importance with that provided in comparable sources, plus a longer appendix that lists and summarizes all description of this kind in the novel and provides citations to Chinese editions and Professor Roy’s translation.1 Thinking both that the essay and appendix were too monstrously long and specialized to think about trying to persuade someone to formally publish and that the appendix is most useful in a form that is readily searchable, I let both lay fallow until it occurred to me that the best course was to make both publicly available for consultation or download online and the best time to do that would be to celebrate the completion of Professor Roy’s translation. It has been made accessible on a variety of websites.2 1 The translation was published as five volumes: The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P’ing Mei (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993–2013). In 2006, only the first two volumes of the translation had been published. I have since added references to the other three. 2 At present writing these include the website for CHINOPERL, the online site for this journal managed by Maney Publishing (as ‘‘supplementary material’’ to this research note at www. maneyonline.com/doi/suppl/10.1179/0193777414Z.00000000019), and shuoshu.org. CHINOPERL: Journal of Chinese Oral and Performing Literature 33.1 (July 2014): 94–95 # The Permanent Conference on Chinese Oral and Performing Literature, Inc. 2014 DOI: 10.1179/0193777414Z.00000000019 Hopefully it is well known how much effort Professor Roy put into the translation of the novel, which involved footnoting the proximate and ultimate sources, when he was able to find them (and he was a very good sleuth!), for the various kinds of quotations and borrowed material that the novel weaves together.3 The translation is a remarkable achievement, and each volume is extensively and carefully indexed, but I still think that the resource this note is introducing provides for even greater and more convenient access to the material on oral performing literature in the novel. My greatest wish is that making this resource available will both raise even more interest in this aspect of the novel and help make some of the wonders of Professor Roy’s translation more widely known and appreciated. 3 Professor Roy has, of course, written much about the novel, including ‘‘The Use of Songs as a Means of Self-Expression and Self-Characterization in the Chin P’ing Mei,’’ Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews 20 (1998): 101–26, but for those interested in his work on the translation, I particularly recommend the chance to hear him describe the process in an hour-long interview done with him after the completion of the translation by Carla Nappi as part of her ‘‘New Books in East Asian Studies’’ series (at http://newbooksineastasianstudies.com consult the ‘‘List of Interviews’’ for the one with Professor Roy; other interviews on that list of interest to readers of CHINOPERL...