Best known as the story from the 1904 Puccini opera, the compelling modern myth of Madame Butterfly has been read, 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 fascinating collaborative volume examines the Madame Butterfly narrative in a wide variety of cultural contexts - literary, musical, theatrical, cinematic, historical, and political - and in a variety of media - opera, drama, film, and prose narratives - and includes contributions from a wide range of academic disciplines, such as Asian Studies, English Literature, Theatre, Musicology, and Film Studies.
From its original colonial beginnings, the Butterfly story has been turned about and inverted in recent years to shed light back on the nature of the relationship between East and West, remaining popular in its original version as well as in retellings such as David Henry Hwang's play M. Butterfly and David Cronenberg's screen adaptation. The combined perspectives that result from this collaboration provide new and challenging insights into the powerful, resonant myth of a painful encounter between East and West.