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Edited by David Francis Urrows

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David Francis Urrows

Abstract

“Say, who the heck is Shanghai Lil?” asks one platinum-haired lady of the night in Warner Brothers’s 1933 musical film, Footlight Parade. Well may she, and also we, ask that question then and today. Even when Lil appears, it is not at all clear just who she is. She is an elusive yet ever-present character, almost a narrative trope, one that crystallizes the essence of the attraction and repulsion of treaty-port era Shanghai (1843–1943) and beyond to the present day. This can be seen from such films as Josef von Sternberg’s Shanghai Express (1932, where the named character first appears) and The Shanghai Gesture (1941), and perhaps all the way to Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution (2007). Lil is a shape-shifter – ambiguities of ethnicity, persona, and even gender pursue her – and an icon of recontextualization made for intertextual studies. She always appears in a dramatic, and usually musical frame, and here I look at and consider three of her numerous incarnations which involve the narrative intersections of words, music, and the moving image: Dao Hua in Reinhold Glière’s socialist-realistic ballet, Kransnii mak (The Red Poppy, 1927 ), especially in the abridged version filmed for Czechoslovak television in 1955; Lil in Footlight Parade; and her completely rectified persona, Fang Haizhen, in the 1964/1973 Chinese ‘revolutionary Peking opera’, On the Docks (Haigang).

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Edited by David Francis Urrows

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Edited by David Francis Urrows

The twelve essays presented in this volume are drawn from the Fifth International Conference on Word and Music Studies held at Santa Barbara, CA, in 2005. The conference was organized and sponsored by The International Association for Word and Music Studies (WMA) and in its central section explored the theme of “Word/Music Adaptation”. In these wide-ranging papers, a great variety of cases of intermedial transposition between music, literature, drama and film are examined. The music of Berlioz, Biber, Chopin, Carlisle Floyd, Robert Franz, Bernard Herrmann, Liszt, Richard Strauss, Verdi, and pop singer Kate Bush confronts and commingles with the writings of Emily Brontë, Goethe, Nancy Huston, George Sand, and Shakespeare in these cutting-edge adaptation studies. In addition, four films are discussed: Wuthering Heights, Fedora, Otello, and The Notebook. The articles collected will be of interest not only to music and literary scholars, but also to those engaged in the study of adaptation theory, semiotics, literary criticism, narrative theory, art history, feminism or postmodernism.

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Edited by Walter Bernhart and David Francis Urrows

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Edited by Walter Bernhart and David Francis Urrows