A Dream Under the Southern Bough, written in
1600, is a representative work of Tang Xianzu, a
distinguished playwright of the Ming Dynasty
The play is about a dream, in which the hero, a discharged army officer named Chunyu Fen, dreams that he enters an ant hole, and ends up marrying the daughter of the king of the ants. The king appoints Chunyu Fen to a high position in his administration. For some 20 years, he pursues an illustrious career, until, following the death of his wife, his downfall is engineered by a political rival. The king has Chunyu Fen arrested and expelled from his realm.
The play, together with Tang Xianzu's three other plays The Peony Pavilion, The Handan Dream and The Purple Hairpins, are known as "the four dreams" because dreams play a vital part in the development of all the four plots. This edition is an unabridged version, and the first one published in English.