Comparative Literature | Drama:Character and Style in Japanese and Western Drama
C311 | 1128 | Prof. Sumie Jones
(3 credits. A & H) TR 9:30 - 10:45 a.m. BH 331
The focus for this semester's study of drama will be conceptions and
creations of character. Works of Japanese drama, traditional and
modern, will be examined in comparison with western counterparts.
Chief topics include the woman (the noh Matsukaze in contrast with
Sophocles· Antigone), the tragic hero (the noh Atsumori in comparison
with Shakespeare·s MacBeth and Kurosawa·s film The Throne of Blood),
the rogue (kabuki Benten Boy in comparison with Molie`re·s Tartuff),
the ghost (the noh Benkei Aboard the Ship the kabuki and Bunraku
versions of Yoshitsune and a Thousand Cherries and kabuki The Ghost
Story of Yotsuya in comparison with Shakespeare·s Hamlet), and the
absent character (Abe Kobo·s Friends and Terayama Shuji·s experimental
plays in contrast with Pirandello·s Six Characters in Search of an
Authhor). Some concepts of drama and character (Aristotle, Zeami and
Chikamatsu) as well as the history and form of Japanese theatre (noh,
kyo?gen, Bunraku, kabuki, shingeki, and avant-garde theatre) will be
introduced. Our concern will be the role of characterization in
exploring the theme and coordinating the plot and its relation to the
conventions of various genres of drama.
The majority of the texts will be studied in selected parts and
most will be discussed in terms of performance by the aid of video
recordings. There will be a midterm and a final examinations in
addition to two short in-class essays.
Some background (one or two courses) in literature or theatre
will help but no knowledge of the Japanese language or culture is
This course meets the A & H requirement.