Butterfly Lovers: A Tale of the Chinese Romeo and Juliet

A beautiful girl disguises herself as a man and lives under one roof with a young male scholar for three years without revealing her true identity. They become "sworn brothers," soul mates and lovers. In a world in which marriage is determined by social status and arranged by parents, what is their inescapable Romeo-and-Juliet-type of fate? The novel is based upon a popular Chinese folktale that has moved millions to tears. There are various music, movie and drama adaptations of the story in the Chinese language, but this is the first English publication in original fiction form. The Chinese title of the story is Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai. (Amazon.com)
Year of Publication
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Homa & Sekey Books
Dumont, New Jersey
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Average: 5 (1 vote)


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Classics in Chinese Literature

Field of Interest/Specialty: String Orchestra
Posted On: 01/02/2018

Higgins--Grades 9-12--String Orchestra
This book, “Buttefly Lovers,” by Fan Dai, is the Chinese version of Romeo and Juliet. I thought it was a very good book with very interesting twists that differ from Shakespeares “Romeo and Juliet.” The love story is very unique. It not only is entertaining, but also gives a lot of information about how life in China is different from the U.S. Also, the women were treated unequally and did not have the freedom that they do today. Education was not provided for women back then. “Butterfly Lovers” also shows that there was a definite social class system in China when this book was written. People who were poor did not get many of the privileges that the rich had. The process of marriage is also very different from the culture here in the United States. This would be a good book for students who are in social studies or history. They would learn about how brides are forced into marrying whoever the parents decide. The two main characters battle through many challenges and the end is very tragic and tear jerking. However, this would be a great resource for students because they can relate the Butterfly Lovers to Romeo and Juliet and at the same time get a better understanding about the history of China and its culture. As for a music class, there is also a movie made from the book and the main theme is an absolute classic for the Chinese. This is very recognizable tune to many Chinese people and always gives them a bittersweet feeling because they know about the tragic story. The music is very expressive and students can have a deeper understanding about the love between the star crossed lovers and the pain they both endured.