Titel: Hong Sheng: The Palace of Eternal Youth (zweisprachig Chinesisch-Englisch) - 洪升: 长生殿 (汉英对照)
Author / Editor: (清 Qing-Dynastie) 洪升 Hong Sheng
ISBN: 978-7-04-029852-9, 9787040298529
Series: 青春绣像版中国古代四大名剧 The Famous Chinese Classical Plays
Publisher: Higher Education Press - 高等教育出版社
Language: bilingual Chinese-English
Date of Publication: 2010.09
Number of pages: 151
Dimensions: 21 x 14.5 cm
This edition is bilingual Chinese-English, the story of the classic play is rewritten in modern language and illustrated with colored paintings as well as black-and-white drawings.
The Palace of Eternal Youth is one of the most famous classical Chinese plays. It was written by Hong Sheng (1645- 1704), a famous dramatist of the Qing Dynasty. Hong Sheng was born into an official's family in Zhejiang and received a good education. At twenty-five, he left his native place for Beijing where he lived for nearly twenty years henceforth. While he was in Beijing, he spent more than ten years to write The Palace of Eternal Youth.
The Palace of Eternal Youth tells about the love story of Li Longji, Emperor Ming of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and his concubine Yang Yuhuan (also known as Yang Taizhen), The story of Emperor Ming of the Tang Dynasty and Yang Yuhuan had begun to spread among the people as far back as the Tang Dynasty. Based on their story, some men of letters of the Tang Dynasty wrote some poems and novels, among which the narrative poem "A Song of Everlasting Regret" by Bai Juyi and the novel Everlasting Sorrow by Chen Hong are the most distinguished.
The Palace of Eternal Youth extols a faithful death-and-life love, a love that is ideal and eternal. Both the man and the woman love each other true and deep. Yang Yuhuan is unusually faithful to love. Though he has many concubines, the one the Tang emperor loves best is Yang Yuhuan to
whom he is basically faithful. After Yang Yuhuan dies, his love for her grows so deep that he is bent on dying for her. Eventually the heaven is moved by his true love of Yang Yuhaun and gives them permission to meet each other and get reunited in heaven. Though one of the couple in love
dies, their affection for each other never dies and thereby prolongs their love. This arrangement of the plot is drawn from The Peony Pavillon. For this reason, some people later looked upon The Palace of Eternal Youth as a new version of The Peony Pavillon, however, the former is more exciting and bustling.
However, the content of thought conveyed in The Palace of Eternal Youth is more complicated. On the one hand, the author highly commended faithful, life-and-death love, on the other hand, he is also critical of the pleasure-seeking life that the Tang emperor and Lady Yang lead which finally
brings to the ruin of the empire. In addition, the author denounces the misdeeds and offences An Lushan and Yang Guozhong commit against the state for personal gains and speaks highly of Guo Ziyi and Lei Haiqing who dedicate themselves to the service of the empire. Apart from the love
between Li Longji and Yang Yuhuan, the feelings the author delves upon in this play also include the ministers' loyalty to their sovereign and the dutiful sons' submissiveness and obedience to their parents. In reflecting on the causes for the Tang Dynasty’s going from prosperity to decline, the author means to “set a warning for posterity”.