Library of Chinese Classics: A Dream Under the Southern Bough (Chinese-English)
Author: Tang Xianzu
Translated into English by Zhang Guangqian
Library binding book, dimensions 960 x 640, 1/16
Publisher: Foreign Languages Press, 2006
ISBN: 7119041657 9787119041650
A Dream Under the Southern Bough, written in 1600, is a representative work of Tang Xianzu (September 24, 1550 - July 29, 1616), a distinguished playwright of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
The play is about a dream, in which the hero, a discharged army officer named Chunyu Fen, dreams that he enters an ant hole, and ends up marrying the daughter of the king of the ants. The king appoints Chunyu Fen to a high position in his administration. For some 20 years, he pursues an illustrious career, until, following the death of his wife, his downfall is engineered by a political rival. The king has Chunyu Fen arrested and expelled from his realm.
The play, together with Tang Xianzu's three other plays The Peony Pavilion, the Dream on the Handan Road and the Anecdote of the Purple Hairpin, are known as "the four dreams" because dreams play at vital part in the development of all the four plots. All of them are still performed (in scenes, or in adapted full versions) on the Chinese Kun opera (kunqu) stage.
Tang was a native of Linchuan, Jiangxi and his career as an official consisted principally of low-level positions. He successfully participated in the Provincial examinations at the age of 21 and at the imperial examinations at the age of 34. He held official positions in Nanjing, Zhejiang province, Guangdong province etc.. He retired in 1598 and returned to his hometown where he focused on writing.
This edition is an unabridged version, and the first one published in English.