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【第三場次1】History-Making and Remembrance in Taohua shan
Created / Published:國家圖書館
Running Times:22分
Play Times:2
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Kong Shangren’s 孔尚任 (1648–1718) Taohua shan 桃花扇 (Peach blossom fan), in its 1708 woodblock edition, sports a full set of front and back matters: preface, multiple authorial notes in different titles, a list of stage props, sources of reference, poems and colophons contributed by a coterie of friends. There are also marginal and end-of-the-act commentaries on the pages of the text proper. This paper focuses on how these paratextual elements work in tandem with the text proper to illuminate the construction of historical memory among the generation after the fall of the Ming, when remembrance of a bygone epoch draws upon fragments culled from individual memories in the forms of writing, oral transmission, and visual representations. Most importantly, The Peach Blossom Fan compels by staging the traces and threads underpinning historical memory in a way that challenges the conception of history as faithful representations of events from the past. Rather, the play accentuates the ultimate inaccessibility of the past without a sense of mediation—any kind of historical representation is already an enactment inevitably informed by aesthetic and moral choices. Trying to resurrect memory from the generation that lived through the fall of the Ming, Kong Shangren presents history in the printed play as lived experiences that ultimately restore a sense of order for the literati community.

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