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The Peach Blossom Fan
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K'ung Shang-jen, once an important official in 17th century China, was dimissed from his post after the publication of his work, The Peach Blossom Fan, a grand historical drama about the collapse of the Ming Dynasty. Massively popular in its own time and still performed today, Shang-jen's play is one of the most pervasively adapted works of Chinese literature.

About the Author

K'ung Shang-jen (1646-1718), descended directly, in the sixty-fourth generation, from Confucius, was a collector of antiques and an authority on ancient rites and music. A doctor of the Imperial Academy, he was dismissed from his post for writing The Peach Blossom Fan. Chen Shih-hsiang (1912-1971) was a professor of Chinese and comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Among his books are The Genesis of Poetic Time and, with Harold Acton, Modern Chinese Poetry. Harold Acton (1904-1994) was a prolific English writer who moved to Beijing in 1932, collaborating on many translations, until the outbreak of the war forced him to leave in 1939. Cyril Birch is a translator and the Agassiz Professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Judith T. Zeitlin is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor in East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Her current research is oriented toward the performing and visual arts and her most recent book is The Phantom Heroine: Ghosts and Gender in Seventeenth-Century Chinese Literature.

Reviews

"The Peach Blossom Fan is replete with romance, conflicts between loyalty and treachery, a healthy measure of bawdy humor, punning, elegant poetry, moral issues, and popular philosophical currents....This is a lively, readable, and faithful translation of a major work of Chinese literature." --Howard Goldblatt

"Many popular Chinese plays fail to qualify as literature, being no more than plain scripts for brilliant actors to display their virtuosity. The Peach Blossom Fan appears to be a luminous exception, for it is a highly poetic chronicle play composed by a distinguished scholar, K'ung Shang-jen, who was born soon after the events he portrayed. As a vivid evocation of the downfall of the Ming dynasty, it deserves to be better known to students of Chinese literature and history." --Harold Acton

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