Divergences and Convergences between Literati and Popular Drama in China
A talk by LU YINGKUN (Communications University of China)
Monday, February 23, 2009
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
11377 Bunche Hall
In the Chinese imperial examination system, a wide gulf separated the literati from actors. The literati filled the ranks of those waiting to enter officialdom, while actors were considered to belong the ranks of the "mean people." These groups also differed when it came to the production of drama: actors sold their artistic services to make a living, and literati engaged in dramatic creation as a form of self-expression. Add to that the differences between literati and actors in terms of cultural sophistication and literary skill, and the contrast between the “elegant” (ya) and “vulgar” (su) styles that emerged from their dramatic corpus becomes obvious. And yet, at the same time, the dramas of these two groups were never fully distinguished from each other. Rather, they frequently drew upon and adapted each other’s works. Over the last several hundred years, the works that have had the greatest life on the stage typically have been those that were products of mutual creative influences.
Professor Lu will speak in Chinese.
Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies