曹禺 (1910 - 1996)

原名萬家寶,祖籍湖北潛江,生於天津一個沒落官僚家庭。自幼愛好文學和戲劇。1922年入天津南開中學時,對話劇發生濃厚興趣,演過丁西林的《壓迫》、易卜生的《國民公敵》、《玩偶之家》等話劇。1930年轉入清華大學西洋文學系,1934年在「文學季刊」發表劇作《雷雨》,轟動一時。1935年寫成劇本《日出》,以藝術手法深刻解剖了30年代中國的都市生活,批判了當時「損不足以奉有餘」的罪惡,獲得1936年度《大公報》文藝獎。

1936年創作了他唯一的一部以農村生活為題材劇本《原野》,該劇較多受到奧尼爾的影響。1940年寫作的《北京人》,題材又回到他熟悉的大家庭生活,不過比前更樸實深刻,藝術上也更加成熟。1978年又創作話劇《王昭君》。晚年疾病纏身,1996年不治辭世,享年86歲。


Cao Yu (1910 - 1996)

Originally named Wan Jiabao; ancestral home in Qianjiang, Hubei province. Cao Yu was born to a declining bureaucratic family in Tianjin. Even in childhood, he was already very fond of literature and stage plays. After entering Nankai High School in Tianjin in 1922, Cao developed a keen interest in drama. He performed in productions such as Ding Xilin’s Oppression, and Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People and A Doll’s House. In 1930 in Tsinghua University, he transferred from the Department of Political Science to the Department of Foreign Literature, and in 1934 he published his maiden play Thunderstorm in Literature Quarterly, winning widespread acclaim. In 1935, he turned out his second play Sunrise, in which he gave an insightful account of the urban life of China in the 30s and exposed the dark reactionary rule of the time. The play won a literary prize awarded by the newspaper L’ impartiale in 1936.

In 1936, Cao completed The Wilderness, the only play of his on the theme of rural life. This play was written under considerable influence of Eugene O’Neill. In 1940, he returned to more familiar ground and produced Peking Man, a play that again featured life in the feudalistic family, yet even more unaffected, perceptive and artistically mature. In 1978, he wrote the drama Wang Zhaojun. In his late years he was pursued by illness. He passed away in 1996 at the age of 86.

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