Xin MengFollow


The relationship between newspaper drama commentaries and ancient drama commentaries focusing on chuanqi-zaju and literary criticism is not a simple linear inheritance, but directly originated from the writing of flower registers in the middle and late Qing Dynasty. Thanks to the press, the trend of theater improvement, and Chinese and foreign theater theories, drama commentaries became a comprehensive art criticism genre. Their primary objects of criticism were Beijing opera, modern drama, and other popular stage plays. The production mode of these commentaries was cross-platform columns that were immediate, public and branded. They placed equal emphasis on both text and stage, historical research and practical criticism. The development of stage-oriented consciousness in newspaper drama commentaries in the late Qing Dynasty and the early Republic of China reflects the migration of the focus from “script composition” to “performance art” within the “dramatology” system of classical drama theory. The independent development of drama commentaries focusing on chuanqi-zaju and the gradual separation of Beijing opera from modern drama can also be regarded as traditional drama theory's direct response to the brand-new drama pattern of the “triple triad” of chuanqi-zaju, local opera and modern drama.


late Qing Dynasty and early Republic of China, newspapers and periodicals, drama commentaries, critical style, drama criticism