‘Ophelia divided from herself’ (Hamlet, 4.5.2944–45)

Ophelia's Manga Afterlives

in Critical Survey
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  • 1 West University of Timișoara, Romania
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Abstract

Manga – one of Japan's cool cultural products – has undergone, over the past two and a half decades, a process of globalisation, of Western domestication. Manga versions of Shakespeare's canonical works have long been appreciated for their educational value and ‘friendly’ introduction to Shakespeare's dense, multilayered texts. Starting from two Western manga transmediations of Shakespeare's Hamlet, this article focuses on new interpretations given to the character of Ophelia and her interactions with Hamlet, as they become more and more public and monitored. I will show that manga brings to light (or life?) fresh aspects of Ophelia as well as of Hamlet, particularly through the use of chibi, enriching the number of Ophelia's afterlives either by means of aggression or modern technologies, while also ensuring that Shakespeare remains a writer for all times.

Contributor Notes

Andreea Ioana Şerban is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, West University of Timișoara, Romania. Her research interests cover anglophone literatures, modern transmediations of William Shakespeare's works (manga in particular), gender and cultural studies. Her publications include book chapters in various thematic volumes, as well as a series of academic articles; she also co-authored a series of three volumes on the cultural history of England covering the Elizabethan, the Victorian and the modern periods.