This is the first English language book to systematically examine the life and art of Mei Lanfang (1894-1961). Lanfang, who specialized in female roles in classical Chinese theatre, especially jingiu, is widely considered the greatest actor of twentieth-century China. This text includes analyses of his work from Chinese, Western, Russian, and intercultural perspectives. From multiple and diversified perspectives, this book provides English readers with first-hand accounts and historical and critical writings on Mei Lanfang's life and art. This book is divided into four parts.
The first part is a selection of Mei's own writings on his art and professional career; the second part concerns Chinese perspectives on Mei' s art, featuring historical and critical writings on Mei' s art by leading Chinese thinkers and theater artists who had first-hand experience of Mei' s art; the third part presents Western and Russian perspectives on Mei' s art, featuring critical writings on Mei' s art by leading theatre artists and critics such as Brecht, Stark Young, Meyerhold, Eisenstein, Tairov, and Tretyakov; and, the fourth part presents intercultural perspectives on Mei's art, featuring articles dealing with Mei' s art and its impact on the twentieth-century international theatre from contemporary intercultural perspectives.