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  • Liu Yi and The Dragon Princess

Liu Yi and The Dragon Princess

A Thirteenth-Century Zaju Play by Shang Zhongxian

David Hawkes

English , 2003/07 The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press

Tags: Literature

229 x 152 mm , 120pp ISBN / ISSN : 978-962-996-064-3

  • US$25.00

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Liu Yi and the Dragon Princess is an adaptation, made with a view to a sung, staged production, of the thirteenth-century zaju play Liu Yi Chuan Shu, which was itself based on an eighth-century fairy tale about a failed examination candidate's encounter with a shepherdess in distress who turns out to be the youngest daughter of the Dragon King of Lake Dongting. The young man's help is rewarded with riches, immortality and marriage to the beautiful princess. It is a wish-fulfillment fantasy written with charm and a certain ironical edge. This adaptation consists of the freely-translated lyrics of the zaju with a new, original dialogue, including an on-stage narrator. There is a long introduction with synopses of the Chinese text of the zaju and the original story it was based on. There is also an appendix explaining the use of "padding words" in zaju.

David Hawkes was born in 1923. He studied Classics (Latin and Greek) for a year (1942) in the War and Classical Chinese for two and a half years (1945–1948) after the War at Oxford University, followed by three years as a research student at the National University in Beiping/Beijing (1948–1951). He was professor of Chinese in Oxford University from 1960 to 1971 and a Fellow of All Souls College from 1973 to 1983, after which he abandoned Chinese Studies and lived in rural retirement in Wales. Publications: a translation of the Chuci (The Songs of the South, Oxford, 1959; greatly revised edition, Penguin, 1985); a translation of Hongloumeng (The Story of the Stone, vols. 1–3, Penguin, 1973–1980); and A Little Primer of Tu Fu (Oxford, 1967; reprinted Hong Kong, 1987). In 1989 The Chinese University Press published a volume of his essays on Chinese literature, entitled Classical, Modern and Humane. In 2000 the Centre for Literature and Translation of Lingnan University, Hong Kong, published a facsimile edition of notebooks he kept during the period of the Stone translation.

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