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  • From the Old and New Editors
  • Margaret B. Wan and Jing Shen

After serving as Editor of CHINOPERL for five years, I am handing the journal over to Jing Shen. I know the journal will be in good hands, and I look forward to working with her in my new role as an Associate Editor.

I would like to say how grateful I am to the editorial team—Vibeke Børdahl, Catherine Swatek, David Rolston, and Jing—for their ongoing work for the journal. Thank you, also, to each of you on the Editorial Board for the support you have shown me in the last five years. I continue to be impressed with all of your expertise and generosity.

This special issue on Women, Fidelity, and Desire in Chinese Drama and Song showcases some of the breadth of CHINOPERL's purview. Each of the contributions in this issue, in its own way, discusses how stories travel—across genres, across time, and across geographic borders. Taken together they explore the issue of women's agency and social constraints from multiple perspectives.

The articles by Xian Wang and Levi Gibbs both discuss the reinterpretation of a woman's death in multiple versions and genres. Xian Wang's article, "Meat, Ghost, Tumor, and Goddess: The Afterlife of a Female Martyr," examines the literary representation of the Tang loyalist Zhang Xun's concubine in Yao Maoliang's 姚茂良 (fl. 1475) southern drama Shuangzhong ji 雙忠記 (Double Loyalty). By comparing her depiction in this drama with that in historical sources and jottings (biji), Wang shows how different versions of the story wrestle with the contradictions in the depiction of the heroine who sacrificed herself out of fidelity to her husband the general. While the heroine in these tales dies out of loyalty to her husband, in many versions of the story of Lan Huahua the heroine dies as a consequence of rebelling against her marriage. In "Retelling the Tale of Lan Huahua: Desire, Stigma, and Social Change in Modern China," Levi Gibbs traces a regional oral narrative on the beautiful Lan Huahua through its retellings in multiple media, including folk songs, television dramas, and a 2017 musical. Lan Huahua's initiative in leaving an arranged marriage to strike up a love affair (or several) has been reinterpreted many times, illuminating the effect of the 1950 Marriage Law and modernization in China through the ongoing tensions around issues of sexuality, desire, and stigma.

Wilt Idema's full translation of "Shaanxi Songs of a Boudoir Beauty," a suite of "rustic songs" that gives a first-person account of a girl's journey from innocent teenager to happy bride, provides an unusually open account of female sexuality in North China. In his introduction, Idema notes that the text's attribution to Pu Songling, while unlikely, led to this work being preserved by avid Pu Songling collectors in Japan as well as China.

The adaptation and reception beyond China of a classic drama of wifely fidelity and filial piety is the subject of Josh Stenberg's research note, "Lutes Abroad: Translations, Productions, and Derivations of Pipa ji in Western Languages." It is interesting that the sense of Chinese morality the play conveys was one of the reasons that it was adapted in Europe early on. [End Page v]

Thank you for your continued support of CHINOPERL. Enjoy reading!

Margaret B. Wan

I want to thank Margaret Wan for her leadership as Editor of CHINOPERL for the past five years, which has greatly bolstered the journal. Among the many accomplishments during her tenure, several of her innovative contributions stand out. On the fiftieth anniversary of CHINOPERL, Margaret led the celebration of the Society's past achievements through two special issues while carving out a future for the journal by securing University of Hawai'i Press as CHINOPERL's new publisher to increase its sustainability and visibility. This also brought about CHINOPERL's inclusion in Project Muse. Margaret has shepherded the expansion of the journal's scope to include publications on Chinese theater in diaspora, which extends an initiative by David Rolston that added scholarship on non-Han traditions to the purview of CHINOPERL. Another experiment proposed by Margaret—themed issues...


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pp. v-vi
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