Rewriting Shakespeare has become a global genre. Arnold Wesker was one of the trailblazers of the genre with his The Merchant (1976). This article argues that Arnold Wesker’s The Merchant, with both its subversion and extension of Shakespeare’s play, in theme, plot and characterization, engages with Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice by means of a counter-discourse. Wesker rewrote Shylock by focusing on two episodes in Shakespeare’s play: Jessica’s conversion to Christianity and Shylock’s self-defence. Wesker’s rewriting disrupts the binary as well as Christian conceptions to bestow upon the Jew the ‘protean quality’ of representing just about any sort of ‘Other’ but themselves. Wesker’s Shylock has a rounded humanity and is a cultured, humorous and book-loving Renaissance man. Wesker puts Shakespeare’s work under scrutiny as a culturally constructed world where life can be repositioned, and margins moved to the centre to be in a new light.
Sensation and the Tragedy of the Exceptional Woman in Rhoda Broughton's Good-bye, Sweetheart!
Reading Rhoda Broughton's fourth novel Good-bye, Sweetheart! (1872) as a revision of Germaine de Staël's Corinne (1807), this essay examines Broughton's depiction of the exceptional woman who tragically defies the gender norms of her day. Like Staël's famous improvisatrice, Broughton's rebellious heroine Lenore Herrick dies heartbroken after her fiancé discards her to marry a more docile girl. Significantly, however, Broughton's Victorian protagonist is even more disempowered than her Romantic predecessor; lacking an artistic career like Corinne, Lenore is, finally, a rebel without a cause.
Te Papa Tongarewa the Museum of New Zealand
The national Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa was comprehensively restructured in the 1990s in accordance with new government policies of ‘biculturalism,’ designed to reformulate relations between indigenous Maori and descendants of colonial settlers. This article, which traces the development of the new Museum, is a case study, not only of contemporary cultural politics in a settler society, but also of the impact of discursive theory on museums. Te Papa has embraced critical literature and has incorporated into its exhibitions notions derived from literary theory, such as subversion, deconstruction, and ‘play.’ ‘Biculturalism’ may be seen as another rhetorical device, one that effects a conceptual separation between Maori and non-Maori that is given form in the Museum’s physical structure and operations. This article considers how cultural policy shapes museum practice, and questions whether biculturalism is an effective strategy in terms of its stated aim of supporting Maori self-determination and a (cultural and political) ‘partnership’ with Pakeha, New Zealanders of European descent.
Demythologizing Girlhood in Kate Bernheimer’s Trilogy
In this article I position the metaphor of the hope chest at the heart of a trilogy of fairy tale novels, The Complete Tales of Ketzia (2001), The Complete Tales of Merry (2006a) and The Complete Tales of Lucy Gold (2011), by Kate Bernheimer that explore traditions of American girlhood. Deploying psychoanalytic interpretative readings, I investigate the characterization of each of the three sisters. My use of the hope chest (as both a toy and a cultural repository) enables me to offer a fuller picture of the social transition depicted in these novels from childhood into womanhood, and is thus conflated with the idea of the child-woman— a hinge-like cultural figure whom Bernheimer represents metaphorically through boxes of accoutrements containing memories and prophecies. With reference to unpublished interviews with Bernheimer, I support my interpretative reading of her trilogy by invoking and explaining the relevance of literary theories related to caskets.
Julia Pascal’s The Yiddish Queen Lear
Julia Pascal’s The Yiddish Queen Lear, a dramatic adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear, merges racial identity politics with gender politics as the play both traces the history of the Yiddish theatre and offers a feminist criticism of Shakespeare’s text. The use of Lear as a source text for a play about Jews illustrates that contemporary Jewish engagements with Shakespeare are more varied than reinterpretations of The Merchant of Venice. Identity politics are employed in Pascal’s manifestation of the problematic relationship between Lear and his daughters in the form of a conflict between the play’s protagonist Esther, who struggles to preserve the tradition of the Yiddish theatre, and her daughters who prefer the American cabaret. Gender politics are also portrayed with Pascal’s use of a strong woman protagonist, which contributes to the feminist criticism of Lear as well as subverting the stereotypical representation of the domestic Jewish female figure in other dramatic texts.
Though it may seem perverse – Shakespeare being synonymous with creativity itself – to speak of ‘creating’ that which is already so manifestly and abundantly created, Shakespeare criticism and scholarship is tending increasingly towards the view that every act of scholarly reproduction, critical interpretation, theatrical performance, stage and screen adaptation, or fictional appropriation produces a new and hitherto unconceived Shakespeare. This volume presents discursive evidence to support this hypothesis in relation to the fields of transcultural reproduction, screen adaptation, theatrical improvisation and fictional re-writing.
An Interview with Nabyl Lahlou
Khalid Amine and Nabyl Lahlou
On Arab stages, Shakespeare’s tragedies have a particular and exciting history, the roots of which go back to the nineteenth century. The various manifestations of Shakespeare in Arabic have oscillated between reproducing his work in the early translations of the late nineteenth century on the one hand and, on the other, adapting and rewriting the texts in order to set them in Arabic contexts.
The Case of Sarah Waters
At the beginning of the new century (and the new millennium) Victorian revivalism is still a large-scale cultural phenomenon. Instead of abating, the obsession with the past seems to have intensified. Rewritings of the Victorian age have continued to flourish in many cultural domains, while critics have increasingly answered to the appeal for a 'rigorous scholarly analysis' of 'the prominence of the nineteenth century for postmodernism'. On the literary scene, young writers have joined the ranks of the earlier postmodern revivalists. These writers have contributed to keeping alive the interest in the Victorian past, but they have also introduced some thematic and formal innovations which require critical attention.
Educational Films, National Identity, and Citizenship in Italy from 1948 to 1968
This article examines a series of educational films and documentaries produced between 1948 and 1968 that document the activities of the Italian state. These films, which record the dedicated and arduous work of the Italian government and administration, had two functions. First, they informed students and the general public about the democratic structures, institutions and aims of the new republic, promoting a fresh and convincing vision of national identity. Second, they served to obscure and rewrite the collective national memory of Fascism and Italian involvement in the Second World War. These films thus reveal the fine line between public information, political propaganda, and civic education.
Globalization as Imperialism in Pico Iyer's Video Night in Kathmandu
Malini Johar Schueller
This article teases out the complex intersections between Pico Iyer's Video Night in Kathmandu as an Orientalist travel narrative and as a treatise on the cultural flows of globalization by analyzing the politics of Iyer's adoption of a migrant, cosmopolitan persona as well as his conscious attempt to rewrite the gendered hierarchies of imperialism. It examines the unspoken privileges of whiteness and Westernness in Iyer's adoption of a decentered persona that struggles to overcome (particularly in his chapter on India) being interpellated as “Indian.” The larger purpose of the essay is to interrogate the rhetoric of cultural globalization as beyond the hierarchies of imperialism.