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A Glossary of Words and Phrases in the Oral Performing and Dramatic Literatures of the Jin, Yuan, and Ming

Subjects: Literary Studies, Asian Literature, Reference, Asian Studies, China
Paperback : 9780472038237, 368 pages, 6 x 9, January 2021
Hardcover : 9780892641383, 368 pages, 1 photograph, 6 x 9, January 2002
Open Access : 9780472901760, 368 pages, 6 x 9, August 2020

Open access edition funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities / Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Humanities Open Book Program
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The first aid of its kind in a Western language to reading a notoriously difficult body of dramatic works from 1200 to 1600 CE


For many years, the oral performing and dramatic literatures of China from 1200 to 1600 CE were considered some of the most difficult texts in the Chinese corpus. They included ballad medleys, comic farces, Yuan music dramas, Ming music dramas, and the novel Shuihu zhuan. The Japanese scholars who first dedicated themselves to study these works in the mid-twentieth century were considered daring. As late as 1981, no comprehensive dictionary or glossary for this literature existed in any language, Asian or Western.A Glossary of Words and Phrases fills this gap for Western readers, allowing even a relative novice who has resonable command of Chinese to read, translate, and appreciate this great body of literature with an ease undreamed of even two decades ago. The Glossary is organized into approximately 8,000 entries based on the reading notes and glosses found in various dictionaries, thesauruses, glossaries, and editions of works from the period. Main entries are listed alphabetically in the pinyin romanization system. In addition to glosses, entries include symbolic annotations, guides to pronunciation, and text citations. The result is a broadly useful glossary serving the needs of students of this literature as well as scholars researching Jin and Yuan language and its usage.

Now retired, Dale R. Johnson was Professor of Chinese and Chair of East Asian Studies, Oberlin College. He has published Yuan Music Drama: Studies in Prosody and Structure and A Complete Catalogue of Northern Arias in the Dramatic Style.