Li Yu 李玉 (c. 1612-c. 1681)

A prolific playwright, Li was born in Wuxian in Jiangsu. His father was a servant of the powerful grand secretary Shen Shixing 申時行 (1535–1614) who kept the best opera troupe in Suzhou. Li is best known for four early plays composed in the late Ming period (1368–1644)—Yi peng xue 一捧雪 (The snow-white cup), Ren shou guan 人獸關 (Between man and beast), Yong tuanyuan 永團圓 (Forever together) and Zhan huakui 占花魁 (Winning the prettiest courtesan). His later plays, such as Qingzhong pu 清忠譜 (Roster of the loyal and pure) and Wanli yuan 萬里緣 (Union over ten thousand li) are more realistic and often recount the history of the late Ming and the early Qing dynasty (1644–1912).