PEONY by Keith West


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Further portrait of the Ming dynasty (Winter Cherry) which follows the colloquial literature of that period, so that the manner, almost more than the material, is of prime interest. Peony, of an aristocratic family, who was raised with her feet unbound and her mind free to make its own decisions, flouts marriage tradition when she sees the boy she is to marry before arrangements are made, and falls in love with him. Her parents refuse to permit the marriage, and the boy is killed after a clandestine meeting with Peony. She becomes the mistress of her brother's tutor, attracts the attention of the Governor, who has her married to the new librarian of the province. Peony's disillusionment grows, as her unloved husband turns to others, kills her cat, and at last she turns to the governor when the tutor kills her husband. Betrayed by the governor's wife, Peony is left to die at a monastery, but recovering, she accepts the fate she must follow. Mannered, sometimes ironical, with a modern feel to the characterizations of Peony, the governor's wife, Peony's father, this contributes a new aspect to the picture of domestic Chinese life of that period.

Pub Date: April 9th, 1945
ISBN: 9971492148
Publisher: Macmillan