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Acting, Jiaren, And The Artifice Of Congruity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines how sixteenth- and seventeenth- century writers and commentators made use of jiaren and explores what constitutes a jiaperformance. For the authors and commentators who espoused 'playful theatricals,' artifice was a culturally and historically specific concept. While clashes of performative codes were celebrated as indicative of qu, the opposite-mere congruity and conformity with social propriety and expected norms-was just as easily read as signs of duplicity and artifice (jia). The troupe of jiaren characters appearing in the chapter, ranging from moral and orthodox conformists to romantic poseurs and emotional fakers, all received harsh criticism from the authors and/or commentators who distained the actors' command of artifice. The chapter discusses how writers and commentators gendered artifice and questioned whether women could stage playful theatricals.

Keywords: artifice; congruity; jiaren; playful theatricals



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