Editorial

in Critical Survey
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  • 1 Yale University mlitvin@bu.edu

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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