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 large choice of cultural contexts - literary, musical, theatrical, cinematic, historic, and political - and in various media - opera, drama, movie, and prose narratives - and comprises contributions from a variety of educational disciplines, akin to Asian reports, English Literature, Theatre, Musicology, and picture Studies.
From its unique colonial beginnings, the Butterfly tale has been grew to become approximately and inverted lately to shed mild again at the nature of the connection among East and West, last renowned in its unique model in addition to in retellings resembling David Henry Hwang's play M. Butterfly and David Cronenberg's monitor model. The mixed views that outcome from this collaboration supply new and difficult insights into the robust, resonant fantasy of a painful stumble upon among East and West.
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Additional resources for A Vision of the Orient: Texts, Intertexts, and Contexts of Madame Butterfly
S. ’ 15 In the Cronenberg film this bit of Western mechanism is very evident in the suicide scene. In the text of the Hwang play the music ‘blares over the speakers’ (see Hwang 93), but in his opening speech Gallimard refers to the contents of his cell: ‘I’m responsible for the tape recorder, the hot plate, and this charming coffee table’ (Hwang 2), and in scene 3 in the first act ‘He turns on his tape recorder. Over the house speakers, we hear the opening phrases of Madame Butterfly’ (4). In a production of the play there is much to be said for drawing an audience’s attention to the tape recorder as a mode of reworking, diminishing, and commodifying the Puccini opera.
The practice is described very clearly in Loti, who was even surprised by the casual attitude of the mother of such a girl sold for money, who accepts the transaction as ‘an act perfectly admissible in their world’ (Loti  58). 8 Cio-Cio-San the Geisha 41 Groos cites additional personal testimonies from various people, such as the Great Duke Alexander of Russia, stationed in Nagasaki in the mid1880s, and a doctor in 1868–9, both of whom describe the matter-of-fact, mercantile way in which these relationships were regarded (Groos, ‘Butterfly’ 151–2).
1904). 2 Pierre Loti, Madame Chrysanthemum (1887). The female character in Madame Chrysanthème, Ki-Hou-San, is referred to variously as a plaything, a dog, a cat, a doll, and an insect. The narrator asks: ‘What can take place in that little head? I’ll bet one hundred to one that nothing takes place there. ’ Quoted in Szyliowicz 76. Similarly, Cio-CioSan is called a squirrel, a doll, a little baby, and a plaything. 3 See Karen Ma 19–20. 4 Joseph Kerman uses much the same image when he writes concerning all Puccini’s heroines: ‘What a shame (we are to feel), what a shame that butterflies are broken on this excellently oiled wheel’ (20).