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Opera and the CityThe Politics of Culture in Beijing, 1770–1900$
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Andrea Goldman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804778312

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804778312.001.0001

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Social Melodrama and the Sexing of Political Complaint

Social Melodrama and the Sexing of Political Complaint

(p.145) Four Social Melodrama and the Sexing of Political Complaint
Opera and the City
Stanford University Press

This chapter explores the drama The Garden of Turquoise and Jade (Feicui yuan), written in Suzhou in the early Qing, and its several kunju performance redactions. The themes considered in Garden are typical of the plays written by contemporaries among the so-called Suzhou writers' group of early Qing dramatists. Its popularity indicates that urban audiences connected with the plight of the downtrodden. The gender and class politics of Garden are a blend of old and new. The villains are all men who usurp authority. The commercial productions taken from the plot illustrate the gendered (and classed) face of social complaint. It is shown that traces of late Ming romantic imaginings about gender and class carried over in modified form into the social melodramas of the Qing.

Keywords:   The Garden of Turquoise and Jade, Suzhou, Qing, gender, class politics, social complaint, social melodramas, Ming romantic imaginings

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