Japanese Studies in Shakespeare: Interpreting English Drama Through the Noh and Theatrum Mundi

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This study on how the Noh tradition in Japan has influenced Shakespearean performances around the world is based on two world-renowned works: Ernest Fenollosa's excellent translation of chief Noh works and Benjamin Britten's masterpiece operatic work, "Curlew River", remaking another masterpiece Noh play. These works attached some crucial effects upon Shakespearean performance, so much so that another memorable dimension has been added, which is theatrum mundi or the theatre of the world.


“William Shakespeare’s universality as a dramatic genius is a commonplace with a long, if not entirely uncontroversial, history. His plays appeal across a range of cultures and across a wide chronological time span is uncontested. It is now unexceptional to find a Shakespeare production in Britain or America directly influenced by Japanese theatre styles, whether Bunraku, Kabuki, Noh or Kyogen ... this book will allow a wider readership, in Japan and the West, to share in a more extended encounter between a sophisticated and knowledgeable commentator and the works of the greatest genius of the English theatre.” – (from the Preface) J. Ronnie Mulryne, Professor Emeritus, Warwick University

“Professor Izumi Momose belongs to a group of very senior Japanese Shakespeare scholars whose approach to Shakespeare is enlivened by a profound knowledge of Japan’s dramatic and religious traditions. ‘Under Eastern Eyes’ might have been a good alternative title for this fascinating, sometimes deeply provocative collection ... The oscillation between general and sometimes markedly cross-cultural views and meticulously close readings of the text is constantly illuminating, and the rich fruit of a lifetime’s work and meditation.” – Professor Graham Bradshaw, Chuo University

“As an interpreter of Shakespeare’s plays, Professor Momose has at least three advantages over his counterparts in the west. First, he is non-Western, and so he is not hide-bound by the many academic prejudices of Western scholars. Secondly, he is Japanese, and as such he can appreciate the plays of Shakespeare from a wide perspective, covering the whole world and particularly including the Noh drama. Thirdly, he is a fully and deeply human being, and so he writes – unlike the majority of scholars both East and West, who are all too committed to the heresy of objectivity – from the depths of his heart to the hearts of his readers.” – Peter Milward, Professor Emeritus, Sophia University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
I. Some Introductory Notes on the English Drama and the Noh
II. Temporal Awareness in Richard III
III. ‘Readiness’ and ‘Ripeness’: A Reflection on Shakespearean Characteriziation
IV. The Way of ‘Pilgrimage’ in King Lear
V. Shakespearean Drama and the Noh: Theatrum Mundi and Nothingness
VI. The Impact of Shakespearean Drama: As Regards coincidentia oppositorum

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