A Vision of the Orient: Texts, Intertexts, and Contexts of by Jonathan Wisenthal et al. (eds.)

By Jonathan Wisenthal et al. (eds.)

Best often called the tale from the 1904 Puccini opera, the compelling sleek fable of Madame Butterfly has been learn, watched, and re-interpreted for over a century, from Pierre Loti's 1887 novel Madame Chrysanthème to A.R. Gurney's 1999 play Far East. This attention-grabbing collaborative quantity examines the Madame Butterfly narrative in a wide selection of cultural contexts - literary, musical, theatrical, cinematic, old, and political - and in quite a few media - opera, drama, movie, and prose narratives - and contains contributions from a variety of educational disciplines, resembling Asian reviews, English Literature, Theatre, Musicology, and picture Studies.

From its unique colonial beginnings, the Butterfly tale has been grew to become approximately and inverted in recent times to shed gentle again at the nature of the connection among East and West, last well known in its unique model in addition to in retellings akin to David Henry Hwang's play M. Butterfly and David Cronenberg's display variation. The mixed views that outcome from this collaboration supply new and difficult insights into the strong, resonant fable of a painful come upon among East and West.

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Yet, I felt convinced that the libretto would include yet another lotus blossom pining away for a cruel Caucasian man, and dying for her love. Such a story has become too much of a cliché not to be included in the archetypal East-West romance that started it all. Sure enough, when I purchased the record, I discovered it contained a wealth of sexist and racist clichés, reaffirming my faith in Western culture. ([1989] 95) Those who know Hwang’s play only from the film version by Cronenberg may not know the extent to which he draws on Puccini’s music to unmask itself.

One may consider Butterfly’s death to be a sine qua non of the myth, but that is not at all what happens in the foundation text, Loti’s piece of travel fiction. ’ the narrator of Madame Chrysanthème wonders (275), slightly anticipating Gallimard’s line, and Loti’s last act is truly of the world of comedy. For one thing, the relationship between the narrator and Yves, which is the main issue of the narrative, remains intact; Chrysanthème has not come between them – for the very good reasons that Yves respects the fact that she is married to his friend and the narrator himself despises her.

7 Holland 36. Holland goes on to dismiss Busoni’s reactions, however, which he regards as inappropriate. 8 Gustav Kobbé, The Complete Opera Book (New York, 1919), as quoted in Osborne 165. Osborne goes on to write: ‘I have yet to meet an American who finds Puccini’s use of “The Star-Spangled Banner” offensive. ’ Mosco Carner, Puccini: A Critical Biography, 3rd ed. (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1992), 138. William Ashbrook credits the casting of two dramatic sopranos (Salomea Krusceniski and Emmy Destinn) in performances following the ill-fated premiere with deepening the role: ‘The prominence given these two dramatic sopranos suggests that Puccini later modifed his original view of Butterfly as a sort of Japanese doll and came to stress more and more the tragic aspects of the role’ (114).

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