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Self-representation in the Dramas of Ruan Dacheng (1587–1646)

  • Alison Hardie

Abstract

Ruan Dacheng (1587–1646), known to his friends as Stone Nest (Shichao) or the Woodcutter of Baizi Hill (Baizi shan qiao), and to his enemies as Beardy Ruan (Ruan huzi), Hirsute of Anqing (Wan ran) and ultimately as Hairy Heirless (Ran jue), is most notorious as the associate of Wei Zhongxian (1568–1627), chief eunuch of the Tianqi court and as the vengeful sidekick of Ma Shiying (1591- 1646/7) in the faction-ridden Southern Ming regime, sharing with Ma a joint biography in the ‘Treacherous Officials’ section of the official Ming History.1 But he was also a distinguished poet, regarded by Yuan Zhongdao (1570–1623) as a worthy follower of his brother Yuan Hongdao (1568–1610), the leader of the Gong’an School in literature, 2 and a phenomenally successful dramatist, described by the historian and drama aficionado Zhang Dai (1597–1680) as ‘extremely talented’ as both playwright and director,3 whose dramas were greatly admired even by his bitterest enemies

Keywords

Qing Dynasty Ming Dynasty Tang Dynasty Imperial Examination Mistaken Identity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Zhang Tingyu, ed., Mingshi (Ming history) (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1978), vol. 26, 7937–7945.Google Scholar
  2. Ruan Dacheng and Ma Shiying in Robert Crawford, ‘Ihe Biography of Juan Ta-ch’eng’, Chinese Culture 6.2 (1965): 28–105.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Zhang Dai, ‘Ruan Yuanhai xi’, (Plays of Ruan Yuanhai), in Li Ren, ed., Tao’an mengyi, Xihu mengxun (Dream memories of Tao’an, Dream recollections of West Lake) (Beijing: Zuojia chubanshe, 1995), 157.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    On the Gong’an School, see Jonathan Chaves, Pilgrim of the Clouds: Poems and Essays by Yuan Hung-tao and His Brothers (New York and Tokyo: Weatherhill, 1978), 15–21Google Scholar
  5. Chou Chih-p’ing, Yuan Hung-tao and the Kung-an School (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988)Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Liu Yun et al., eds., Huaining xianzhi (Gazetteer of Huaining County) [1686], in Zhongguo fangzhi congshu: Huadong difang (Taipei: Chengwen chubanshe, 1985), vol. 730.Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    On Kuang’s adventures in Guangxi, see Duncan Campbell, Kuang Lu’s Customs of the South: Loyalty on the Borders of Empire (Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington, 1998)Google Scholar
  8. Steven B. Miles, ‘Strange Encounters on the Cantonese Frontier: Region and Gender in Kuang Lu’s (1604–1650) Chiya’, Nan Nü: Men, Women and Gender in China 8.1 (2006): 115–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 13.
    Two editions of Ruan’s Poems from the Hall of Chanting what is in my Heart are available: Ruan Dacheng, Yonghuaitang shi (Taipei: Taiwan Zhonghua shuju, 1971 [facsimile of 1928 edition]); Ruan Dacheng, Yonghuaitang shiji, ed. Hu Jinwang and Wang Changlin (Hefei: Huangshan shushe, 2006).Google Scholar
  10. 16.
    See Frederic Wakeman Jr., ‘Romantics, Stoics, and Martyrs in Seventeenth-Century China’, Journal of Asian Studies 43.4 (1984): 631–665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 17.
    On Zhang Dai’s life and work, see Jonathan Spence, Return to Dragon Mountain (London: Quercus, 2008).Google Scholar
  12. 35.
    Huang Shang, ‘Guanyu Zhang Zongzi’, (On Zhang Zongzi) Haoshou xueshu suibi: Huang Shang juan (Essays by senior scholars: Huang Shang) (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2006), 88Google Scholar
  13. 37.
    Yuan Zhongdao, Youju feilu (Notes made while travelling and at repose) (Shanghai: Shanghai yuandong chubanshe, 1996), 280–281.Google Scholar
  14. 39.
    Ji Liuqi, Mingji nanliie (An outline history of the Southern Ming) (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1984)Google Scholar
  15. Li Qing, Sanyuan biji (Notes from the three government departments) (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1982).Google Scholar
  16. 44.
    Donald Holzman, Poetry and Politics: The Life and Works of Juan Chi, AD 210–263 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976), 1.Google Scholar

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© Alison Hardie 2013

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  • Alison Hardie

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