Language : English
Published : 1997-05-01
Pages : 224
The Playboy of the Western World and Two Other Irish Plays
A murderer becomes the toast of the village as his charm negates his crime. A young countess saves her tenants from starvation, but only by selling her soul to the Devil. The sleepy parish of Nyadnanave sees a vision of a cockerel that dares the inhabitants to break the shackles of Church and State. All these plays were met with moral outrage and rioting in their native Ireland. Yeats’ “The Countess Cathleen” (1892), J. M. Synge’s “The Playboy of the Western World” (1907) and O’Casey’s “Cock-a-doodle Dandy” (1949) emerged from a period of traumatic change for Ireland. While the plays bear witness to the immense social upheavals of the turn of the twentieth century, they also represent a new age of Irish drama that rose from the turmoil, and their lessons ring true to this day.
About the Author
J.M. Synge was born in 1871. 1n 1895 he went to Paris and in the following year met W. B. Yeats and consequently joined the Irish League. He was first a literary adviser and then a director of the Abbey Theatre, and his own plays appeared in repertory. He died in 1909. Sean O’Casey was born in Dublin in 1880. In 1926 he moved to England. He discouraged any professional performances of his plays in Ireland after the Archbishop of Dublin refused to inaugurate the Dublin festival if his play The Drums of Father Ned (1958) was included. He died in 1964. W. B. Yeats, the irish dramatist, poet, autobiographer, critic and occult philosopher, was born in 1865. At the age of nineteen he attended an art school in Dublin, but already his central interest was in writing. Towards the end of his life he enjoyed many honours, including the Nobel Prize and membership of the Irish Senate. He died in France in 1939.
Anthony C. Yu’s translation of The Journey to the West,initially published in 1983, introduced English-speaking audiences to the classic Chinese novel in its entirety for the first time. Written in the sixteenth century, The Journey to the West tells the story of the fourteen-year pilgrimage of the monk Xuanzang, one of China’s most famous religious heroes, and his three supernatural disciples, in search of Buddhist scriptures. Throughout his journey, Xuanzang fights demons who wish to eat him, communes with spirits, and traverses a land riddled with a multitude of obstacles, both real and fantastical. An adventure rich with danger and excitement, this seminal work of the Chinese literary canonis by turns allegory, satire, and fantasy.
With over a hundred chapters written in both prose and poetry, The Journey to the West has always been a complicated and difficult text to render in English while preserving the lyricism of its language and the content of its plot. But Yu has successfully taken on the task, and in this new edition he has made his translations even more accurate and accessible. The explanatory notes are updated and augmented, and Yu has added new material to his introduction, based on his original research as well as on the newest literary criticism and scholarship on Chinese religious traditions. He has also modernized the transliterations included in each volume, using the now-standard Hanyu Pinyin romanization system. Perhaps most important, Yu has made changes to the translation itself in order to make it as precise as possible.
One of the great works of Chinese literature, The Journey to the West is not only invaluable to scholars of Eastern religion and literature, but, in Yu’s elegant rendering, also a delight for any reader.
This Norton Critical Edition includes twenty-eight tales from The Arabian Nights translated by Husain Haddawy on the basis of the oldest existing Arabic manuscript.
Few works of literature are as familiar and beloved as The Arabian Nights. Yet few remain also as unknown. In English, The Arabian Nights is a literary work of relatively recent date—the first versions of the tales appeared in English barely two hundred years ago. The tales are accompanied by a preface, a note on the text, and explanatory annotations.
“Contexts” presents three of the oldest witnesses to The Arabian Nights in the Arabic tradition, together in English for the first time: an anonymous ninth-century fragment, Al Mas‘udi’s Muruj al-Dhahab, and Ibn al-Nadim’s The Fihrist. Also included are three related works by the nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers Edgar Allan Poe, Marcel Proust, and Taha Husayn.
“Criticism” collects eleven wide-ranging essays on The Arabian Nights’ central themes by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Josef Horovitz, Jorge Luis Borges, Francesco Gabrieli, Mia Irene Gerhardt, Tzvetan Todorov, Andras Hamori, Heinz Grotzfield, Jerome W. Clinton, Abdelfattah Kilito, and David Pinault.
A Chronology of The Arabian Nights and a Selected Bibliography are also included.
“The Story of the Stone” (c. 1760) is one of the greatest novels of Chinese literature. The first part of the story, The Golden Days, begins the tale of Bao-yu, a gentle young boy who prefers girls to Confucian studies, and his two cousins: Bao-chai, his parents’ choice of a wife for him, and the ethereal beauty Dai-yu. Through the changing fortunes of the Jia family, this rich, magical work sets worldly events – love affairs, sibling rivalries, political intrigues, even murder – within the context of the Buddhist understanding that earthly existence is an illusion and karma determines the shape of our lives.
Shakespeare’s valedictory play is also one of his most poetical and magical. The story involves the spirit Ariel, the savage Caliban, and Prospero, the banished Duke of Milan, now a wizard living on a remote island who uses his magic to shipwreck a party of ex-compatriots.