The Peony Pavilion

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By the end of the twentieth century, the theater-goers of the world have been enchant- ed by the famous Chinese play The Peony Pavilion by Tang Xianzu. This long play of 55 scenes revolves around the extraordinary love story between Du Liniang and her dream- lover Liu Mengmei.
One spring day, Du Liniang, daughter of Prefect Du Bao in Nan'an, takes a stroll in her back-garden with her maid Chunxiang. As her youthful sense of love is aroused by the thriving birds and flowers, she conceives a dream encounter with a young scholar Liu Mengmei. She is so obsessed in her desire for the young scholar that she dies in deep melancholy. Then she is buried in the backgarden. As the Infernal Judge is moved by her deep affection, Du Liniang's soul is allowed to wander about to look for her lover. On his way to attend the imperial examination, Liu Mengmei gets ill and stops over in Nan'an. He happens to pick up Du Liniang's self-portrait inthe backgarden and brings it to his room. When Du Liniang's soul arrives, they get married between man and ghost. Liu Mengmei digs open the grave and Du Liniang is revived. Soon Liu Mengmei goes to Lin'an with Du Liniangand attends the imperial examination. While they are wait- ing for the announcement of the examination results, news comes that Du Bao is besieged in the city of Huai'an. DuLiniang asks Liu Mengmei to find out what has happened to her father. However, Liu Mengmei is taken as the gravedig- ger and tortured by his father-in-law. When Liu Mengmei is announced as the number-one scholar, Du Bao refuses to ac- cept him. It is by the imperial edict that the family finally gets reconciliated and reunited.
This romantic love story is superb in the sense that Du Liniang conceives a dream for love, dies for her dream-lover, moves the Infernal Judge by her love, revives for love and defends her love when she is revived. However, true love
cannot develop from an encounter in a dream. The female protagonist in the feudal society has her own physical lust and psychological desire, an expression of humanism against the background of strict mental and moral restrictions and newly-sprung renaissance spirit in the late Ming dynasty. That is why for four hundred years this play has been appreciated by generations of readers and audience, especially by women infeudalist China.
The Peony Pavilion not only presents a love story,but also tackles psychological and social issues.It gives apanoramic view of the 16th century Chinese society.The play has a dramatis personnae of 160 characters of different social strata,ranking from the emperor to the farmers,from high—ranking officials to rascals,from foreign merchants toTartar invaders,from nuns to prostitutes.Imagination runs from the human world to the To stage the whole play of 55 scenes would lake more than 20 hours.
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Sample pages of The Peony Pavilion (ISBN:7810468391, 9787810468398)
Sample pages of The Peony Pavilion (ISBN:7810468391, 9787810468398)
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The Peony Pavilion