centered on him. Tan concludes with Li's complicated feelings about qu: pride in his skill at writing them, understanding of their usefulness for fashioning an unconventional image, misgivings about being identified with a little-regarded genre, and a desire to elevate qu's status. A short conclusion succinctly summarizes findings and future prospects for research. This skillfully researched study fills several gaps: It examines qu production in northern China, focuses on collective rather than individual creativity, discusses occasional qu (important at the time but subsequently dismissed), and examines a period of qu production from 1510 to circa 1568 that has been little studied. Tan's discussion of this neglected corner of qu's history uncovers some aspects unique to the north (emphasis on sanqu rather than drama, on social as much as individual creativity); it also traces developments that anticipate late-Ming trends in the south (writing qu by literati for both enjoyment and self-expression, for performance by private troupes, and for dissemination in both printed and hand-copied collections--and noting that printing in north Chinese was more developed than supposed). Tan's use and, in some cases, discovery of sources that have been largely overlooked enables him to illuminate literary communities different than those
Asian Theatre Journal – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jul 11, 2012
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