Peony Pavillion

Kenneth Pai


Kenneth Pai (Pai Hsien-yung / Bai Xianyong) has been described as a "melancholy pioneer." He was born in Guilin, Guangxi, China at the cusp of both the Second Sino-Japanese War and subsequent Chinese Civil War. Pai's father was the famous Kuomintang (KMT) general Pai Chung-hsi, whom he later described as a "stern, Confucian father" with "some soft spots in his heart." He was diagnosed with tuberculosis at the age of seven, and during which time he lived separately from his siblings (of which he would have a total of nine). He lived with his family in Chongqing, Shanghai, and Nanjing before moving to Hong Kong in 1948 and Taiwan in 1952.

 

Pai went abroad in 1963 to study literary theory and creative writing at the University of Iowa. That same year, Pai's mother, the parent with whom Pai had the closest relationship, died, and it was this death to which Pai attributes the melancholy that pervades his work. After earning his M.A. from Iowa, he became a professor of Chinese literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has resided in Santa Barbara ever since. Pai retired from UCSB in 1994.

Crystal Boys (1983; English translation, San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, 1990), tells the story of a group of homosexual youths living in 1960s Taipei largely from the viewpoint of a young, gay runaway. Other famous works include Fallen Immortals (1967); Wandering in the Garden, Waking from a Dream (1968; English translation, Indiana Univ. Press, 1982); Taipei People (1971; Chinese-English bilingual edition, Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong, 2000); and Lonely Seventeen (1976). Bai’s works have been translated into English, French, Korean, Japanese, German, and other languages.

A higher proportion of Pai's work has been turned into films, TV or stage plays than almost any other contemporary Taiwanese writer. Stories works as Jade Love, The Last Night of Taipan Chin, Crystal Boys, and Wandering in the Garden, Waking from a Dream are recognized classics of Chinese-language fiction.

Regardless of whether he was writing creative works in Taiwan or teaching Chinese literature at UC Santa Barbara, Pai’s love affair with Kun opera has never weakened. He was involved in two prior productions of Peony Pavilion, in 1983 and 1992, but those were abridged versions of the original opera. For this version, he took on the task of creating an adaptation that is suited to modern tastes and yet remains faithful to the original opera, including all the traditional performance practices of kun opera.

白先勇,當代作家廣西桂林人.國民黨高級將領白崇禧之子.在讀小學和中學時深受中國古典小說和\"五四\"新文學作品的浸染.童年在重慶生活,后隨父母遷居南京,香港,台灣,台北建國中學畢業后入台南成功大學,一年后進台灣大學外文系.1958年發表第一篇小說《金大奶奶》. 1960年與同學陳若曦,歐陽子等人創辦《現代文學》雜志,發表了《月夢》,《玉卿嫂》,《畢業》等小說多篇. 1961年大學畢業.1963年赴美國,到愛荷華大學作家工作室研究創作,1965年獲碩士學位后旅居美國,任教於加州大學.出版有短篇小說集《寂寞的十七歲》,《台北人》,《紐約客》,散文集《驀然回首》,長篇小說《孽子》等.白先勇吸收了西洋現代文學的寫作技巧,融合到中國傳統的表現方式之中,描寫新舊交替時代人物的故事和生活,富於歷史興衰和人世滄桑感.

永遠的台北人

    雖然隻在台北住了十一年,但台灣一直是白先勇心中的故鄉.他的所有作品,也幾乎都是以台灣做為幅射軸心,反而在住了卅多年的美國聖塔芭芭拉,卻「一個字也寫不出來」.

    當年隨家人倉皇渡海來台,在台北安身立命,陪著台北慢慢成長,這份共患難的特殊情感,每每使他想起台灣時,心裡就有著滿滿的鄉愁,而這種深厚的認同和眷戀,也讓白先勇自認為是「永遠的台北人」!

白先勇小檔案

出生:一九三七年七月十一日

籍貫:廣西省桂林市

學歷:台大外文系畢業,愛荷華大學「國際作家工作坊」碩士.

著作:短篇小說有〈金大奶奶〉,〈月夢〉,〈玉卿嫂〉,〈畢業〉……等多篇.短篇小說集有《寂寞的十七歲》,《台北人》,《紐約客》.散文集有《驀然回首》,《樹猶如此》.長篇小說《孽子》等.劇本有《金大班的最后一夜》,《游園驚夢》等.

得獎:第七屆國家文藝獎文學類得主.