© 2012

Mei Lanfang and the Twentieth-Century International Stage

Chinese Theatre Placed and Displaced

  • Authors

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History book series (PSTPH)

About this book


The first book-length study in any language of the presence and influence of Mei Lanfang, the internationally known Chinese actor who specialized in female roles on the twentieth-century international stage. Tian investigates Mei Lanfang's presence and influence and the transnational and intercultural appropriations of his art.


Interpretation language stage theatre Tradition

About the authors

MIN TIAN Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa, USA.

Bibliographic information


"Tian's greatest strength is his ability to draw our attention to a balanced history with his comprehensive summary of conflicting views of Mei's tours ... Tian offers a rich paradigm of the multiple strategies that evolved in response to Chinese theatre's increasing visibility. There is much to enjoy in these thoroughly researched and critically argued chapters . . . This book is sure to provoke further discussion among all those who have an interest in the impact of Mei Lanfang on the international stage." - Comparative Drama

"The book's greatest strength lies not in detailing the cultural meanings performed on stage, but those perceived by experts in the audience below . . . this study of the astonishing transnational influence of an Asian genre of performance has filled in research blanks in performance history; the cultural histories of Japan, China, the United States and the Soviet Union; and cosmopolitanism in the arts. It is to be highly commended." - Modern Art Asia

"Tian's contributions to the ongoing exchange of views about [the history and future of xiqu] are most welcome, precisely because serious debate is best fed by questions rather than ready-made answers." - CHINOPERL Papers

". . .The research is extremely impressive: Tian has consulted archives in different languages and included materials first seen in English publication. The glossary for Chinese and Japanese terms and resources is also a treasure trove. . .Tian demonstrates that there is probably plenty to be uncovered if we keep digging; however, the mythologized, glorified, politicized, and historicized Mei Lanfang should probably be put to rest half a century after his passing. As traditional Chinese theater is barely holding on today, [we] look forward to reading Tian's investigation on contemporary Chinese opera." - The Journal of Asian Studies