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Goldberg, S.H. (2018). Sliding Walls and Glimpses Of The Other In Puccini’S Madama Butterfly. Psychoanal Q., 87(3):479-495.

(2018). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 87(3):479-495

Sliding Walls and Glimpses Of The Other In Puccini’S Madama Butterfly

Steven H. Goldberg

Walls, and the complicated ways in which they open and close, are built-up and taken down, and are employed flexibly or rigidly, constitute a central psychological metaphor in Puccini’s 1904 opera, Madama Butterfly. The opera explores grievous and eventually tragic misunderstandings based on barriers of culture, gender, and social status, as well as internal defenses, splits, and dissociations. The clash of cultures between the United States and Japan, conveyed in both the drama and the music of this opera, explores the inevitability of mutual misunderstanding. Music, in its intrinsically embodied nature, bridges defensive disconnections between mind and body that limit contact with self and other.

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