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Translation, Production, and Dramatic Impact of Modern English Playwrights in Republican China

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2013, 26(3), pp.379-402
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Siyuan Liu 1

1University of British Columbia

Accredited

ABSTRACT

As part of the influence of modern Western theatre in China, the impact of three English playwrights—George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, and John Galsworthy—during the Republican era (1912-1949) is significant in both dramatic and theatrical terms. In terms of dramatic creation, Wilde’s aesthetic blend of the body and soul inspired some of the most memorable plays of the 1920s that fervently championed the unfettered passion as a weapon against restrictive Confucian morality. For the two English Nobel Prize laureates who are usually considered realists, Shaw’s social criticism and biting satire inspired socially conscious drama and Chinese comedy even as it is harder to trace the specific lineage of such influence, while Galsworthy’s ideological neutrality in depicting a capitalist and worker as equally principled in Strife inspired Cao Yu’s Thunderstorm, one of the greatest plays of modern Chinese theatre. Theatrically, the 1920 production of Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession was a valiant but ultimately inadequate first attempt at staging modern Western drama while the 1924 performance of Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan adapted and directed by the Harvard-educated Hong Shen ushered in a modern director-centered production system in China.

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