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Margaret Litvin


To my knowledge, this is the first essay collection in any language

to be devoted to Arab appropriations of Shakespeare. Studies of

international Shakespeare appropriation have mushroomed over the

past fifteen to twenty years. Excitement began to build in the 1990s,

as several lines of academic inquiry converged. Translation theorists

found in Shakespeare’s plays a convenient (because widely known

and prestigious) test case. Scholars in performance studies, having

noted how sharply local context could influence a play’s staging and

interpretation, saw a need to account for ‘intercultural’ performances

of Shakespeare in various languages and locales. Marxist scholars

became interested in the fetishisation of Shakespeare as a British

cultural icon which, in turn, was used to confer cultural legitimacy

on the project of capitalist empire-building. Scholars of postcolonial

drama and literature explored how the periphery responded. The

‘new Europe’ provided another compelling set of examples. All this

scholarship has developed quickly and with a great sense of urgency.

Shakespeareans in many countries have contributed. By now there

is a rich bibliography on Shakespeare appropriation in India, China,

Japan, South Africa, Israel and many countries in Latin America and

Eastern and Western Europe.