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302Comparative Drama have puzzled feminist scholars in his introductory claim that the study of character "has been neglected." For feminist scholars the representation of identity—i.e., character—is one of the crucial issues of literary analysis. He is by no means unsympathetic to their project. His book makes a case that certainly deserves a hearing and that clarifies elements which in recent studies of character have actually "been neglected ." For insofar as the psychological and ethical continue to resurface in the representation of character, the presumptions that govern our conceptions about identity have been shuffled rather than radically changed. JAMES M. HARDING Eastern Michigan University Sang-Kyong Lee. Tozai Engeki no Deal, trans. Tokuichi Tanaka and Kazuyoshi Nishi. Tokyo: Shin Dokusho-sha, 1993. [From the German edition, Westöstliche Begegnungen: Weltwirkung derfer-nöstlichen Theatertradition. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft , 1993.] Pp. 385 + 22 illus. ¥ 3,800. Perhaps the most comprehensive study of Eastern, particularly Japanese, influences on the theaters of Europe and America yet written, this volume by Sang-Kyong Lee (published simultaneously in the original German and its present Japanese translation) contains a wealth of information about the mutual encounters of theaters East and West. For quite some time we have known of the influences of Asian art, literature , and theater on the West through individual examples. But Lee extensively documents, for the first time, the history and interrelationships of these influences on a large scale involving five countries. His underlying purpose is the search for the spirit behind surface similarities and borrowings in the theater East and West. The modern Western theater since the late nineteenth century has developed with continual cross-fertilization from Oriental theaters. Many revolutionary directors and theorists in this century—Max Reinhardt , Ysevolod Meyerhold, Gordon Craig, Jacques Copeau, Antonin Artaud, Bertolt Brecht, and Jean-Louis Barrault, among others— employed dramatic ideas and techniques of the East in various ways. Artaud s dramaturgy was inspired by Balinese dance and theater, and Brecht drew heavily upon Chinese ideas and acting styles in formulating his Alienation Effect. The others discussed here have stronger ties with Japan as their source of inspiration. This Eastern influence only grew more widespread after World War II, and indeed it has become conventional to adopt some aspects of the traditions of the Orient. His initial assumption, presented in Chapter I, that Occidental interest in the Japanese theater originated in Ukiyoe (wo Ddblock and color Reviews303 prints) is carefully substantiated in the subsequent chapters in the context of Japonisme, which was an influential trend in the arts and culture of late nineteenth-century Europe and America. Following the opening of Japan to the West in 1854, Ukiyoe swept across Europe, especially making its influence felt in France where Impressionist painters assimilated many of the techniques and ideas of Japanese art in their works. This artistic movement further extended to the literature and theater of Symbolists such as the Goncourt brothers, Mallarmé, and even the naturalist Zola—all great lovers of Japanese art and literature. As Lee argues throughout the book, it was mainly the Symbolist movement , in its rejection of the predominantly naturalistic tendencies of the contemporary theater, that prepared the way for the reform of the modern European stage. Here the use of Japanese dramatic techniques played a key role especially in shaping Japoniste concepts, which were widely disseminated by a generation of Artaud's followers from Copeau, Dullin, Claudel, and Barrault to Peter Brook. One flaw in Lee's analysis involves his discussion of Artaud and Balinese theater when he refers to the latter's form of ecstasy during the dance as "metaphysical" in nature in contradistinction to the effect of Artaud's theater itself, which he defines as a "trance" state. Actually, according to anthropologists, Balinese dance-theater is a form of shamanism characterized by its trance-possession at the climax. The actor while performing becomes possessed by the spirit that he impersonates until members of the audience are also pulled into the trance state, as Margaret Mead's anthropological films demonstrate. Artaud's "trance," therefore, should be read in the light of the Balinese cult of shamanistic possession, which is entirely foreign to Western metaphysics. The overall goals of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 302-305
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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