The Generals of the Yang Family

Four Early Plays

This book offers a complete translation of four early plays of the Yang family generals. The story of the Yang family generals, particularly its female generals, was a perennial favorite on the Chinese stage in the 19th and 20th centuries. In detailing the role of this military family in the Song-Khitan wars of the mid-12th century, these four plays are all in the form of zaju, a type of play that originated in the 13th century.

These plays are from the 15th and 16th centuries and allow a glimpse into earlier renditions of the Yang family saga, which is a decidedly more male-centered tradition than that performed in the Qing dynasty. This volume offers the only complete English-language translation of these early plays. These plays allow access to the earliest phase in the development of the Yang Family saga. The plays provide information on the staging of large battle scenes on the stage and have considerable literary and cultural value.


Stephen H. West is a faculty member with the School of International Letters and Cultures.

Date published