Between 1935 and 1936, the play Lady Precious Stream was a big success as being performed and running for 1,000 nights at the Little Theatre in London. Its writer-director, Shih-I Hsiung (熊式一), was the first Chinese person to direct a West End play. Hsiung’s wife, Dymia, was also remarkable as the first Chinese woman in Britain to publish a fictional autobiography in English. By retrieving the lost histories of these two celebrated writers, this book considers how ideas of China and Chineseness are circulated and contested globally. Though fêted as ‘The Happy Hsiungs’, their lives ultimately highlight a bitter struggle in attempts to become modern.
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