Research on Chinese Opera’s Theory of Leu Tian Cheng
|Keywords:||呂天成;曲品;戲曲理論;戲曲批評;明傳奇;Leu Tian Cheng;Qupin;Xiqu theory;Xiqu criticisms;Ming Chuanqi||Issue Date:||2007||Abstract:||
Leu Tian Cheng (1580-1618) was one of the most important xiqu (Chinese traditional theatre) theorists and critics in the Ming Dynasty. However, his theory of xiqu has not yet been explored and discussed intensively. The aim of this thesis is to understand precisely the framework and contents of the theory put forward in Leu’s work, Qupin, by making an in-depth exploration on the basis of previous groundwork, to seek the underlying meanings and to clarify the history and trails based on which his theory is constructed, so as to achieve a comprehensive understanding on Leu’s xiqu theory.
First of all, this thesis discusses the background of Leu’s theatrical criticisms from various aspects including the age, the region, theatrical writers and critics during that period and so on, in order to reconstruct a complete picture of the background at that time. Further, the framework for Leu’s xiqu theory is established, with emphasis on its relationship with the preceding xiqu theories and its influence on the theatrical criticisms of the later generations. Leu’s theory of xiqu composition and points of judgment are related to his concept of xiqu development history. Therefore, this thesis focuses on 3 main aspects – history, discussions and criticisms. The connections between various kinds of artistic appreciation standards are considered in order to understand clearly the arrangement of Leu’s xiqu theory and establish a consolidated theory framework that can reveal the true meanings of his theory and confirm its status in the history of theatrical studies.
The contents of this thesis are arranged as follows. In the “Introduction”, the research motives, results and methods of previous works are described, and the summary and expected results are explained. Chapter 1 “The background of Qupin, the biography of Leu Tian Cheng and his motive for writing” examines the background in which “Qupin” was written based on the general background of theatrical composition in the Ming Dynasty, the development of xiqu theories and the regional factors. Leu’s family and biography, his career as a writer, his teachers and friends, the motives for writing “Qupin” and the style are also briefly discussed. Chapter 2 “Judgment standards and points of criticisms” points out how Leu’s values on the history of xiqu development and on the inheritance of various xiqu branches are closely related to his judgment standards. His judgment standards are summarized to reveal the principles and characteristics, and Leu’s opinions about the functions of xiqu and ideas of compositions are discussed. This chapter also brings out his concern about the relationship between the composers and their works, as well as the position of viewers and readers in “Qupin”. Chapter 3 “A discussion about story, theme, plot, arrangement and structure” discusses the theory of story-telling in “Qupin” from an artistic point of view. It indicates the differences between the concepts of theme, plot, arrangement and structure, and emphasizes the characteristics of his theory through comparison with other xiqu critics. Chapter 4 “Dang Xing Ben Se Theory and Shuang Mei Theory” explains the relationship between “Dang Xing Ben Se Theory” and “Shuang Mei Theory” put forward by Leu. The underlying meanings of these theories are explained, and Leu’s status as one of the greatest masters in the system of xiqu theory is revealed. Chapter 5 “Xiqu Qingjing Shuo” depicts the ideas and characteristics of Leu’s theory of “Xiqu Qingjing Shuo”, and its importance and status in the history of xiqu artistic conception theory. Firstly, the thesis analyzes how Leu converted artistic conception from a poetic theory into a theatrical theory. Then, Leu’s technical terms and concepts in “Xiqu Qingjing Shuo” criticisms are summarized in order to analyze the 3 main factors of artistic conception in xiqu: (1) the scene; (2) the state of mind; and (3) the taste. Then, the meanings of these three factors are elucidated, and their significance for the development of classical theatrical studies is indicated. Finally, Leu’s requirements in artistic appreciation are summarized into 3 points: (1) based on true emotions; (2) seek for vivid and natural presentation; and (3) be original and creative. The “Conclusion” gives a summary on the framework of Leu Tian Cheng’s xiqu theory, illustrates the pros and cons as well as the criticisms of his theory, and shows its status, value and influence in the history of xiqu theory.
|Appears in Collections:||中國文學系|
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