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To Make People Happy, Drama Imitates Joy: The Chinese Theatrical Concept of Mo

Jingsong Chen
Asian Theatre Journal
Vol. 14, No. 1 (Spring, 1997), pp. 38-55
DOI: 10.2307/1124084
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1124084
Page Count: 18
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To Make People Happy, Drama Imitates Joy: The Chinese Theatrical Concept of Mo
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Abstract

Jingsong Chen introduces the Chinese theatrical concept of mo, roughly equivalent to "mimesis" or "imitation." Mo plays a significant part in traditional Chinese theatre, usually held to be antithetical to the realism of Western theatre because of its emphasis on theatricality. This article examines the history of the word's usage and defines its place in Chinese drama in terms of its similarities with and differences from Western realism. Professor Chen's discussion should prove valuable for those who believe that the formalism of traditional Asian theatre too frequently overshadows its underlying reality. Jingsong Chen received his Ph. D. in comparative literature in 1992 from the University of California at Riverside, where he currently serves in the Department of Literatures and Languages.

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