AuthorZhu, Minqi, 1953-
AdvisorMiao, Ronald C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe purpose of this dissertation is to examine some of the distinctive qualities of traditional Chinese drama in light of comparative studies in literature and drama, especially of Richard Wagner's theory of motifs. Opposed to realism, Wagner argued that music is necessary to the finest drama, for it should be "distanced" from actual life. Wagner intended to fuse all artistic arts into his "music drama." However such drama has existed in China for at least seven hundred years. Moreover, it still keeps vigorously springing up, and greatly manifesting its vitality. The hypothesis of this dissertation is that traditional Chinese theatre has been able to survive through the historical sediment primarily due to the influence of literary motifs that have sustained the vitality of the old dramatic form. This dissertation is based on the research of three theatrical aspects: drama-in-itself, dramatic creation, and dramatic appreciation. For the area that is called "dramatic-in-itself" it deals with the general function of dramatic presentation, either for the sake of art or for moral education; for dramatic creation, it emphasizes on playwrights and their worldview of dramatic creation; and for dramatic appreciation, it examines the viewpoint of the audience. Traditional Chinese drama is a high synthesis of arts. The chief factors that promoted the formation of this art are the literary motifs resulting from the Chinese cultural tradition. Literary motifs can be traced in almost every aspect of Chinese drama: in dramatic purpose, in language, in music, in acting, in dress-up, and in stage scenery. Every aspect of Chinese drama is marked with Chinese national traits. And all these dramatic elements constitute a complexity that incorporated both representational and presentational qualities. This complexity has turned Chinese drama into a uniquely mixed art, long-lasting and durable. This dissertation will explore how literary motifs work in traditional Chinese drama. It will primarily focus conventions of music composition, poetry tradition, dramatic structure, thematic construction and theatrical movements.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
East Asian Studies