I Am Nora, Hear Me Roar: The Rehabilitation of the Shrew in Modern Chinese Theater


in NAN NÜ
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This article analyzes how the “new woman plays” written by the modern dramatist Ouyang Yuqian (1889-1962) in the 1920s weave together the old trope of the shrew with his constructions of the Chinese Nora promoted by May Fourth ideology. Of particular interest is how Ouyang reworked the traditional Pan Jinlian story in his eponymous play to rehabilitate the most notorious shrew from late imperial literature into a modern Nora. The article goes on to examine the performances of Nora by Lan Ping, later known as Jiang Qing (1914-91), in the 1930s. It analyzes the public reception of Lan Ping’s deployment of old and new female types when she played a forceful Nora on and off the stage. This study claims that cultural interest in the traditional shrew did not die with the collapse of imperial China. Rather, modern cultural figures redeemed formerly denounced shrew attributes and revived the shrew as a positive model for female empowerment in their constructions of the “new woman.”


I Am Nora, Hear Me Roar: The Rehabilitation of the Shrew in Modern Chinese Theater


in NAN NÜ

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References

2

 2 Paul J. BaileyWomen and Gender in Twentieth-Century China (New York: Palgrave Macmillan2012) 25.

7

 Dina LowyThe Japanese “New Woman”: Images of Gender and Modernity (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press2007) 21.

15

 Keith McMahonMisers Shrews and Polygamists: Sexuality and Male-Female Relations in Eighteenth-Century Chinese Fiction (Durham, NC: Duke University Press1995) 55.

16

 Martin HuangNegotiating Masculinities in Late Imperial China (Honolulu: University of Hawa’ii Press2006) 85.

18

 Henrietta HarrisonThe Making of the Republican Citizen: Political Ceremonies and Symbols in China 1911–1929 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press2000) 77.

19

 David StrandAn Unfinished Republic: Leading by Word and Deed in Modern China (Berkeley: University of California Press2011) 127.

20

 HarrisonThe Making of the Republican Citizen77–78.

21

 StrandAn Unfinished Republic121.

32

 Yomi BraesterWitness against History: Literature Film and Public Discourse in Twentieth-Century China (Stanford: Stanford University Press2003) 58–60.

39

 David Der-wei WangThe Monster That Is History: History Violence and Fictional Writing in Twentieth-Century China (Berkeley: University of California Press2004) 55.

41

 Victoria CassDangerous Women: Warriors Grannies and Geishas of the Ming (Lanham, MD.: Rowman & Littlefield1999) 102.

44

 Swatek“P’an Chin-lien” 57.

45

 Swatek“P’an Chin-lien” 72 73.

46

 Swatek“P’an Chin-lien” 73.

51

 Joshua GoldsteinDrama Kings: Players and Publics in the Re-creation of Peking Opera 1870–1937 (Berkeley: University of California Press2007) 180.

53

 Ouyang Yuqian“Pan Jinlian” 61. For the translation see Swatek “P’an Chin-lien” 73.

58

 Swatek“P’an Chin-lien” 74.

59

 Naifei DingObscene Things: Sexual Politics in Jin Ping Mei (Durham, NC: Duke University Press2002) xxiii.

60

 Swatek“P’an Chin-lien” 74.

66

 See Xu Huiqi“Nala” zai Zhongguo3 292.

71

 Ross TerrillMadame Mao: The White-Boned Demon (Stanford: Stanford University Press1999) 57.

74

 Roxane WitkeComrade Chiang Ch’ing (Boston: Little, Brown & Co.1977) 102.

80

 Zhao DanDiyu82; Ye Yonglie Jiang Qing zhuan 88.

81

 Ye Yonglie Jiang Qing zhuan96–99; Natascha Vittinghoff “Jiang Qing and Nora: Drama and Politics in the Republican Period” in Leutner et al. eds. Women in China 208–41 see page 225. According to Ross Terrill Tang Na did not get the letter from Zheng Junli until he and Lan Ping came back from Ji’nan. See Terrill Madame Mao 83.

82

 Vittinghoff“Jiang Qing and Nora” 225. Vittinghoff’s account on this matter is based on Ye Yonglie’s Jiang Qing zhuan 91. In Madame Mao however Ross Terrill states that Tang Na took “an overdose of sleeping pills.” See Terrill Madame Mao 82.

83

 Vittinghoff“Jiang Qing and Nora” 225.

90

 TerrillMadame Mao78.

91

 Ye YonglieJiang Qing zhuan92.

93

 Lan Ping“Chiang Ch’ing’s ‘Farewell Letter’” 77. Lan Ping also mentioned the discomfort of city life in her article “Cong Nala dao Da leiyu” 從《娜拉》到《大雷雨》 originally published in Xin xueshi 新學識 1.5 (1937) and see “Chinese Cultural Revolution Research Net” (Zhongguo wenge yanjiu wang 中國文革研究網) 14 May 2007 accessed on 25 September 2016.

94

 Lan Ping“Chiang Ch’ing’s ‘Farewell Letter’” 78.

95

 Lan Ping“Chiang Ch’ing’s ‘Farewell Letter’” 77 79.

96

 Lan Ping“Why I Have Parted” 85.

97

 Lan Ping“Why I Have Parted” 86.

98

 Lan Ping“Why I Have Parted” 87.

99

 Ye YonglieJiang Qing zhuan122.

100

 Lan Ping“Why I Have Parted” 90.

101

 Lan Ping“Why I Have Parted” 91.

102

 Lan Ping“Why I Have Parted” 90.

103

 See Kenneth McLeish trans.A Doll’s House (London: Nick Hern Books1994) 96.

105

 Vittinghoff“Jiang Qing and Nora” 228.

106

 Lan Ping“Why I Have Parted” 90.

107

 Lan Ping“Chiang Ch’ing’s ‘Farewell Letter’” 82.

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