Romance of the West Chamber is an ancient Chinese stage literature written by Wang Shifu, a famous dramatist of the Yuan Dynasty in approximate Yuanzhen and Dade periods (1295-1307). This literature, which is Wang Shifu's representative work, was praised as Romance of the West Chamber tops the world, for it surprised audiences and received loves from the young people just after it was performed on the stage.
The story of Romance of the West Chamber came from the legendary novel Biography of Yingying written during the Tang Dynasty. In this story, Zhang Sheng (a scholar whose family name is Zhang) and Miss Cui Yingying, both of who lived away from home at the Pujiu Temple, dated each other under the help of Yingying's maid Hongniang, and Yingying lost her virginity. However, Zhang Sheng, who went to the capital to take the imperial exam, abandoned her after receiving a high official title. This is a love tragedy. After the Tang Dynasty, it was recomposed into zarzuela and drama by folk artists one after another. Romance of the West Chamber was created based on the rich artistic experience of Wang Shifu, who wrote numerous dramas. In the end of Romance of the West Chamber, Zhang Sheng and Cui Yingying finally tied the knot (as the saying All shall be well, and Jack shall have Jill).
Romance of the West Chamber inherited the fine language arts of Tang and Song poems and absorbed lively folk spoken language of that time (the Yuan Dynasty). It is the refined language integrated with all advantages owned by other arts. So, the language art of Romance of the West Chamber is not only rich and colorful, but also is full of literary grace. The perfect combination of these characteristics makes the literature popular, rhythmic, natural and smooth. The poetical artistic conception abounding in this literature represents the highest achievement made in the Literary grace style language art of China's classical drama. Romance of the West Chamber is an outstanding classical drama of China, exerting a great influence on the latter creation of novels and dramas taking love as subject matter. Peony Pavilion and Dream of the Red Chambers, for example, absorbed the democratic spirit from Romance of the West Chamber to some degree. During the past several hundred years, it has greatly stimulated numerous hearts of the young people.
SOURCE : cultural-china.com
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