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Loving Shakespeare

Anne Tyler's Vinegar Girl and the Hogarth Shakespeare Project

Elizabeth Rivlin


This article focuses on Anne Tyler's Vinegar Girl (2016), a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew published in the Hogarth Shakespeare Project, to explore how the novel and the series seek to create affective ‘middlebrow’ communities that purport to keep Shakespeare alive through love. Counter-intuitively, Tyler chose to adapt a play whose gender politics are unlovable to many twenty-first-century American readers, including the author. But although Tyler has said that she ‘hates’ Shakespeare, her solution is surprisingly to inspire mild, positive feelings in her readers. In mediating Shakespeare in this way, Tyler effectively strengthens bonds of empathy and affection between herself and her readers. Extending its claim, the article argues that the Hogarth Shakespeare Project is a ‘middlebrow’ publishing enterprise, in the sense that it uses Shakespeare to cultivate communities built on the relationship between the adapting author and her readers.

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Natalie K. Eschenbaum


This article considers how Anne Tyler's novel, Vinegar Girl (Hogarth, 2016), adopts and adapts the critical debate concerning misogyny in Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. Social historians have helped to contextualise the shrew-taming plot, some claiming that Shakespeare's tale is romantic when read in context; however, students push back against such conclusions, arguing that teaching Shrew and its informing histories reinforces the patriarchy and risks normalising misogyny. My argument is structured, in part, as a response to students’ concerns, and is informed by girlhood and cultural studies. I survey Tyler's purposeful use of the powerful term ‘girl’ to show how the taming plot is modernised, but remains misogynistic. Vinegar Girl reveals how any tale about taming a woman has an underlying message of male dominance. In Tyler's novel, misogynistic values are sometimes romanticised, sometimes criticised, and frequently both simultaneously. In this contradictory way, it is very much like Shakespeare's original play.

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Shadowing Shakespeare

Akira Kurosawa's Kagemusha (1980) and William Shakespeare's English History Plays (c. 1591–98)

Alex Watson


In his 1980 film Kagemusha or Shadow Warrior, Akira Kurosawa presents the sixteenth-century Takeda clan engaging a lower-class thief to impersonate their recently deceased leader, Takeda Shingen. I examine Kagemusha as a critical engagement with Shakespeare's English history plays and ‘shadow’ counterpart to Kurosawa's trilogy of Shakespeare adaptations, Throne of Blood (1957), The Bad Sleep Well (1960) and Ran (1985). In keeping with Shakespeare's dramatisation of English history, Kurosawa creatively reworks historical sources, incorporating stories of intergenerational rivalry and fulfilled prophecies, to depict the transition from medieval civil conflict to the early-modern nation-state. Kurosawa also deploys the motif of the double to explore the distinctively Shakespearean theme of power as performance, engaging in a dramatic examination of Machiavelli's ideas about politics. I argue that Kurosawa's use of the double posits a theory of influence, drawing on Japanese cultural traditions, in which doubling can achieve a form of transcendence through self-annihilation.

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Katherine Hennessey and Margaret Litvin

and themselves. (Many Arab critics and scholars, fleeing abroad for safety or better working conditions, have done the same.) Topical new Shakespeare adaptations have probed the US occupation of Iraq (Al-Bassam’s Richard III: An Arab Tragedy , 2007

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Canon Fodder and Conscripted Genres

The Hogarth Project and the Modern Shakespeare Novel

Laurie E. Osborne

their own collected novelisations, Australian authors Jackie French and Sophie Masson illustrate the global scope of Shakespearean series. French actually identifies her Shakespeare adaptations as a ‘Shakespeare series’ on her webpage, which lists

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Graham Holderness

policies, which are often criticised by fans on social media. Alex Watson returns to the work of the great master of Japanese Shakespeare on film, Akira Kurosawa, but focuses not on his three Shakespeare adaptations, but on the 1980 film Kagemusha or

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Safi Mahmoud Mahfouz

directors still conveyed political messages through Shakespeare adaptation, albeit at a high professional cost. Early political Shakespeare productions in communist Slovenia included Branko Gavella’s King Lear (1949), an ‘explicitly political tragedy about

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Andreea Şerban

argued that manga Shakespeare has come to represent ‘yet another demonstration of Shakespeare's status as a global author’, while manga may be regarded as a new global lingua franca. See Lanier, ‘Recent Shakespeare Adaptation and the Mutations of Cultural

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A Rose by Any Other Name May Smell Different

Why Are the Japanese Titles of Shakespearean Films So Odd?

Kitamura Sae

consider book lovers as the main target of art-house films based on non-Japanese literature. Therefore, it is not only Shakespeare adaptations but also many other non-Japanese literary films that are marketed without their literary contexts. Like theatre

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‘Abd al-Raḥīm Kamāl’s Dahsha

An Upper Egyptian Lear

Noha Mohamad Mohamad Ibraheem

deceased servant of Bāsil who raised him after his father died. 15 Douglas Lanier, ‘Recent Shakespeare Adaptation and the Mutations of Cultural Capital’, The Free Library , http