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M. Butterfly: With an Afterword by the…

M. Butterfly: With an Afterword by the Playwright (original 1988; edition 1993)

by David Henry Hwang

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Title:M. Butterfly: With an Afterword by the Playwright
Authors:David Henry Hwang
Info:Plume (1993), Paperback
Collections:Your library

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M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang (1988)

  1. 00
    The Stuff of Dreams: Behind the Scenes of an American Community Theater by Leah Hager Cohen (jjlong)
    jjlong: journal of a Massachusetts community theater's staging of "M. Butterfly". Very involving, whether you're into community theater, or have just read the play.

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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Most people I talk to when discussing a book/play that has been made into a film, will invariably say to me ' the book was better'. I don't know if people have said this about M Butterfly, but if they said it, I don't agree. Had I read this before I saw the film with Jeremy Irons, I most likely would not have even finished it. I would have preferred it as a novel or a biography, not a play.

The film is wonderful, and the customs fantastic and colorful. The play is a dull gray in comparison. ( )
  REINADECOPIAYPEGA | Jan 11, 2018 |
Hwang bases his play on two sources: Puccini's _Madame Butterfly_ (obviously), and the breaking news story in 1988 that a French diplomat had been passing state secrets to his Chinese lover, an opera star whom he'd been having an affair with for twenty years and who turned out to be a man. The play is at times bewildering, at times uproarious, and a interesting examination of how Western ideas of the "Orient" have informed international relations from the war in Viet Nam onward. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
interesting. ( )
  katieloucks | Feb 26, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this play. My friend recommended it to me, saying, "It's about this gay guy..." Since this wasn't a very detailed description, I wasn't sure what to expect, but once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. I literally could not stop until I got to the end and once I did I just wanted to start all over again. This is an amazing play. In actuality it's not about a gay guy at all, but my disappointed induced by this realization didn't last long considering what a fantastic read the actual story was. The plot is great, the language is great, and I would definitely recommend this book. ( )
  CareBear36 | Mar 8, 2014 |
White male privilege will fuck you up!

There are a couple awkward lines and sometimes it feels like Hwang is being far too obvious with the themes of the play, not letting the audience work them out for themselves, but overall, M Butterfly is a fascinating study of racial and gender stereotypes in an East vs West battle of sorts. It's also an interesting puzzle to work out, with both leads providing their subjective view-points of events, distorting the truth to show the fantasies they had created. It openly embraces its theatricality, which is one of the reasons the movie is so disappointing in my opinion; it focused too much on realism which made it feel so awkward. The incorporation of the actual opera Madame Butterfly into the play provides an interesting mirror to the characters's situation, although the parallels do veer dangerously close to melodrama in one or two scenes. Obviously, the premise is one that may require a real suspense of disbelief for some - although it is based on a true story - but that feels natural to the play itself. Rene has spent so long building up his perfect fantasy, living out Madame Butterfly with his own apparently submissive beautiful Chinese woman, and he's desperate to hold onto it, even in the face of destruction. It's a play that would require a strong director and actors to match. Highly recommended. ( )
  Ceilidhann | Sep 20, 2013 |
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The limits of my cell are as such: four-and-a-half meters by five.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Two-act play.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0452272599, Paperback)

David Henry Hwang’s beautiful, heartrending play featuring an afterword by the author – winner of a 1988 Tony Award for Best Play and nominated for the 1989 Pulitzer Prize

Based on a true story that stunned the world, M. Butterfly opens in the cramped prison cell where diplomat Rene Gallimard is being held captive by the French government—and by his own illusions. In the darkness of his cell he recalls a time when desire seemed to give him wings. A time when Song Liling, the beautiful Chinese diva, touched him with a love as vivid, as seductive—and as elusive—as a butterfly.

How could he have known, then, that his ideal woman was, in fact, a spy for the Chinese government—and a man disguised as a woman? In a series of flashbacks, the diplomat relives the twenty-year affair from the temptation to the seduction, from its consummation to the scandal that ultimately consumed them both. But in the end, there remains only one truth: Whether or not Gallimard's passion was a flight of fancy, it sparked the most vigorous emotions of his life.

Only in real life could love become so unreal. And only in such a dramatic tour de force do we learn how a fantasy can become a man's mistress—as well as his jailer. M. Butterfly is one of the most compelling, explosive, and slyly humorous dramas ever to light the Broadway stage, a work of unrivaled brilliance, illuminating the conflict between men and women, the differences between East and West, racial stereotypes—and the shadows we cast around our most cherished illusions.

M. Butterfly remains one of the most influential romantic plays of contemporary literature, and in 1993 was made into a film by David Cronenberg starring Jeremy Irons and John Lone.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:23 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

During the Cultural Revolution in China in the mid-1960s, a French diplomat falls in love with a singer in the Beijing Opera, not knowing that the object of his affection is a man. Interwoven with allusions to the Puccini opera "Madama Butterfly", a story of love and betrayal unfolds.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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