A conspicuous difference between the English and Chinese dramas is explained by the fact that, whereas in the former love holds a leading part, in the latter it is relegated to a secondary place. In England it is a passion, in China a sentiment only; hence the thousand intrigues love gives rise to are, in the latter country, either thrown into the shade or tabooed entirely. Without their ardent passions many of our theatrical productions would lose their interest and most of their merit. An English, or, to use a wider term, a European playgoer, requires a due quantum of love.
In China, on the other hand, this demand finds little echo, since love there is not the chief theme of bard and painter. Convention and the strength of parental authority have crushed in a great measure those amorous longings which exist in the human heart, and as love, courtship and matrimony are even more prosaic in the far east than in our part of the world the first of these feelings, if handled as a passion, cannot powerfully arrest the attention of the multitude. — Nineteenth Century.
Thursday, September 18, 2008