Hongkong, Shanghai, Yokohama and Singapore: Kelly & Walsh, 1899.
First Edition. Hardcover. Good. 130 pp, in original blue cloth boards with titles in red. Light soiling to boards, corners bumped, one signature loosening; good to very good overall. With the 1918 ownership signature of West China medical missionary J.C. Humphreys on the front free endpaper and a brief gift inscription on the title page. A native of England, William Stanton served as a policeman in Hong Kong from 1873 to 1897 (when he was caught up in a gamblibng bribery scandal and dismissed) and was fluent in Cantonese. This book includes his translations of three plays and two poems that had previously appeared in the China Review, but also a very useful 18-page introduction on "Chinese Theatrical Affairs" not previously published. This introduction provides considerable detail on the construction of theaters, staging and scenery, makeup and costumes, how plays are selected, how productions are funded and scheduled, the pay of actors ("those who personate female characters are the highest paid"), the members of a typical theatrical company and the stock characters they play, orchestra, transportation of theatrical troupes and productions from city to city, and other interesting technical information. The dramas included are The Willow Lute; The Golden-Leafed Chrysanthemum; and The Sacrifice for the Soul of Ho Man-sau.