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Where Character Is King

Gregory Doran’s Henriad

Alice Dailey

in Stratford, London and China before its sold-out, month-long finale at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where I saw it in April 2016. In addition to declaring kingship and nationality its key conceptual interests, the title describes a spectacle of

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Telmah Thel

The Hustle-Bustle of a Hindi Romeo and Juliet

Jonathan Gil Harris

This article builds on Terence Hawkes' 'jazz' reading of Hamlet to suggest ways in which music can shed light on radical aspects of Shakespeare's theatrical and linguistic craft. Turning specifically to Hindi cinema and the convention of the 'item number', the article considers the latter's translingualism and how it can help us understand the relations between Shakespeare's own polyglot language and the border-crossing nature of desire in Romeo and Juliet.

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Mark Bayer

Sometime around 1890, Romeo and Juliet became the first Shakespeare play translated into Arabic and staged at a public theatre. The classic love story proved exceedingly popular among theatregoers in Cairo, and it remained in the repertory of Iskandar Farah’s theatrical company and its various successors for over twenty years, even while it was simultaneously revived by other troupes. The success of this production has been duly noted. The popularity of Shuhada’ al-Gharam [The Martyrs of Love], as it was known, remains somewhat puzzling, however, since it was in many respects completely foreign to its early Arab audiences who had very little familiarity with Shakespeare, and especially the genre of tragedy. But if it was unfamiliar to them, replete with the melodramatic songs of the fl amboyant pop star Salama Hijazi, and punctuated with comic sketches, recited poetry and cabaret-style music between acts, it would strike Western viewers of Shakespeare as equally exotic.

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Aris Mousoutzanis

Michael Cunningham’s most recent novel, Specimen Days, was bound to be compared to his previous work, The Hours. Reviewers and readers alike could easily identify the numerous similarities between the two texts: both novels were made up of three narratives set at different historical periods but with very similar if not related characters and themes, and a major literary figure haunting their background – Virginia Woolf in The Hours and Walt Whitman in Specimen Days. Lucas, Catherine, and Simon are the three main characters of Cunningham’s latest novel, caught up in similar relationships across three different stories of death and rebirth, trauma and recovery, sacrifice and transcendence.Ahistorical fiction, a police crime thriller, and a science fiction text, the three stories are all set in New York, tied together with recurring symbols and motifs: a white porcelain bowl, a music box, a white horse, the date 21 June, the angel statue at Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain. For a novel that took its creator eight years to complete, Specimen Days seemed to some critics to be short of inspiration. Not only was the novel repeating themes, images, and characters within its own three novellas, but it was also repeating patterns from Cunningham’s previous book.

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Highbrow/Lowbrow

Terry Hawkes and Shakespearean Appropriation

Robert Sawyer

Terence Hawkes' insight and encouragement of the Shakespearean scholarship of his colleagues works to dismantle the distinction between elite Shakespeare and other more popular forms of artistic expression. When Sawyer first met Hawkes at the Shakespeare Association of America meeting in Washington, D.C. in 1997, they had a lively and spirited debate about 'That Shakespearian Rag', the 1912 hit that Eliot alluded to in The Wasteland, which Hawkes used for the title of his 1986 book, and that Sawyer was currently researching in the Library of Congress. What was most striking about the encounter, Sawyer recalls, was the pitch perfect singing of a few lines of the song by Hawkes. One take away from that encounter for Sawyer was that the barriers between the elite and popular needed to be broken down in current Shakespeare studies. The second time Sawyer ran into Hawkes was at the World Shakespeare Congress in Valencia, Spain. During this conversation, Hawkes lamented the lack of humour in current Shakespeare research, asking rhetorically, 'Where are the jokes?' Hawkes helped to realign our thinking about popular culture and Shakespeare by injecting it with a healthy dose of postmodern playfulness. These two encounters led to a lasting friendship that fostered Sawyer's own engagements with popular culture Shakespeare, including publications on topics such as 'Shakespeare and Folk Art', 'Shakespeare and Country Music' and 'Shakespeare and Jerry Lee Lewis'.

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Park Honan

A report on my experience with Shakespeare: A Life may not be generally useful, but I shall touch on factors that are changing our view of literary biography. It helps to refer to oneself and to the matter of a biographer’s outlook and feelings, no matter how deplorable the feelings. Of course, what a biographer thinks or feels is irrelevant, in one sense.We don’t care what you may have felt, for heaven’s sake; we judge your work! That is proper as far as it goes, but outlook and preparedness count in this field and so I shall allude to those. My general view is that biography thrives when we regard it as highly sophisticated, entertaining, and moving, and able to depict as much about life as works of fiction can. This genre has a certain relation to music and painting in its possible intensity. ‘All that is not useful’, says Matisse, ‘is detrimental to the effect’; the same applies to biographical narratives. Shakespeare’s life offers a special challenge, but not for any dire lack of evidence. Much depends on what use is made of abundant facts about Tudor Stratford, for example, and so on a personal attitude. My early attitude to Shakespeare was romantic and poor. For some time I thought of him as semi-divine, or as being ‘more than a man’. If I liked ‘Prufrock’, that was for its Hamlet allusions mainly. Later at University College in London, I was taken aback when my supervisor asked me to read something besides Shakespeare before trying to write a PhD thesis on the tragedies. I wrote two plays, both staged by London groups, but reviewed harshly in student newspapers, except for a remark to the effect that ‘Honan is incapable of writing anything but duologues, rather like Shakespeare in Two Gentlemen of Verona’. Finally I wrote a thesis on Browning partly because ‘Caliban upon Setebos’ reminded me of The Tempest.

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Beyond the Myth of Lesbian Montmartre

The Case of Chez Palmyre

Leslie Choquette

accompanied by guitar or mandolin. In December 1906, police reported on an older woman who performed an obscene strip tease (the genre had originated in a Montmartre music hall, Le Divan Japonais, in the 1890s) while clients sprayed her with seltzer water. 39

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Sarah James, Marion McCready and Graham Holderness

street with echoing Streams of song, crying his passionate outcry Against the night. Black bird: music of light.

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Brian Yothers, Gillian Dooley, Guy Galazka, Peter Weisensel, Jackie Coon, Magdalena Banaszkiewicz and David Cashman

Music Road Trip through Tennessee (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014), 192 pp. ISBN: 978-0-22653-6-521, $22.50 (paperback). Popular music studies has a tendency to ignore its more successful artists. To quote Elijah Wald, “while there are

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The Perfect, Impossible Love

Three Egyptian Film Adaptations of Romeo and Juliet

Rafik Darragi

and to Egyptians in particular: Rāmī is a renowned poet while Qaṣābjī and Sanbaṭī are among the most gifted music composers of the Arab world, and the names of all three are tightly linked to the great diva Ūmm Kulthūm and her classical repertoire. As