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date: 17 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Roughly equivalent to the English word drama, the modern Chinese term xiju is of relatively recent provenance. This chapter traces the etymology of this modern usage of the term xiju, looking in particular at the introduction of Western concepts of drama and performance conventions into China during the early modern period. It looks at the relationship between the modern concept of xiju and a set of earlier Chinese terms that were used to refer to performance works, and concludes that the Sinification of the Western concept of drama was a very complicated process that involved the introduction of Western knowledge, the reconstruction of aesthetic categories, theater reform, the development of new theater, and the critique of old-style theater.

Keywords: drama, performance, early modern, etymology, Wang Guowei

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