When the first Critical Survey special issue on Arab Shakespeares
(19, no. 3, Winter 2007) came out nearly a decade ago, the topic was
a curiosity. There existed no up-to-date monograph in English on
Arab theatre, let alone on Arab Shakespeare. Few Arabic plays had
been translated into English. Few British or American theatregoers
had seen a play in Arabic. In the then tiny but fast-growing field of
international Shakespeare appropriation studies (now ‘Global
Shakespeare’), there was a great post-9/11 hunger to know more
about the Arab world but also a lingering prejudice that Arab
interpretations of Shakespeare would necessarily be derivative or
crude, purely local in value.
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