Six Yuan Plays

Six Yuan Plays

Written by:
Translated by: Liu Jung-En

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140442625
  • 288 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


Although their Mongol overlords (beginning with the founding of the Yuan dynasty by Kublai Khan in 1280) tyrannized the Chinese in nearly every area of life, the arts enjoyed a new-found freedom. On the one hand oppressed, on the other released from the straight-jacket of Confucianism, the Chinese made the most of recent developments in poetry and drama. Yuan plays were a tonic, an amazing spectacle—colorful outbursts of singing, dancing, music, acting and mime. They poured new life into old stories—oppressors were ridiculed, servants became masters, scenes changed, day followed night in the twinkling of an eye—and audiences flocked to enjoy what must have been complete entertainment.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Table of Contents

Note on the Illustrations

The Orphan of Chao
Chi Chün-hsiang
The Soul of Ch’ien-Nü Leaves Her Body
Chêng Teh-hui
The Injustice Done to Tou Ngo
Kuan Han-ch’ing
Change Boils the Sea
Li Hao-ku
Autumn in Han Palace
Ma Chih-yüan
A Strategem of Interlocking Rings

Musical Instruments Used in Yüan Drama