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.
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