Thursday, July 16, 2015

Al-Bassam's Arab Shakespeare Trilogy and my two interviews with him

Sorry I've been neglecting this blog a bit. Should have some exciting publication news for you soon.
Meanwhile: Did I forget to mention that Sulayman Al-Bassam's Arab Shakespeare Trilogy came out last fall from Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, comprising the texts to his Al-Hamlet Summit, Richard III: An Arab Tragedy, and The Speaker's Progress? Intro by Graham Holderness. You can get your epub or hard copy direct from Bloomsbury. As you do so, notice that for "theme" they've categorized it under "Conflict, Other Cultures, Society."

Thanks largely to Holderness, subtitled videos of all the plays in the trilogy are available, along with a lot of secondary material including my work, on the Global Shakespeares site.

I've also published two interviews with Al-Bassam recently, a really fun one in the Palgrave collection Shakespeare and the Ethics of Appropriation (adapted from a really fun late-night conversation in Beirut in 2011 and yes, that's his Richard III on the cover, and an updated version of my essay on his trilogy is in the book too)

and a somewhat duller one in the PMLA special issue on Tragedy.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Filling in Iraqi Hamlet history

Just came across this article from a year ago (June 2014) by `Awad `Ali on the Iraqi site al-Mu'tamar (in Arabic): Hamlet in the Arab Experimental Experience. A few details on experimental Iraqi Hamlet productions by Hamid Muhammad Jawad (1967) and Salah al-Qasab (1980) as well as the more recent هاملت البابلي (Hamlet of Babel) directed by Muhammad Hussein Habib (2009). In Arabic.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Hamlet's Trial (offshoot play)

For my own reasons I just Googled غولدنشترن to find out who besides Mamduh `Adwan uses this spelling for Hamlet's friend.  I came across a 2010 PDF script for a offshoot play called Hamlet's Trial, which "takes up where the splendid William Shakespeare left off." By one Ala'a al-Gharbawi.  It's also at this blog.  It includes a very brief Author's Note "for those who have never read Shakespeare's play before."  Anyone have details?  No time to read it now, but maybe you'd like to. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

CFP: International Shakes Conference - UMass - September

Call for papers: The 2nd  International Shakespeare Conference: Translation, Adaptation, Performance
"Where in the World is Shakespeare?"
September 18-20, 2015
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA, USA

What makes Shakespeare funny in Kabul? In 2005, Corinne Jaber claimed (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) that ?Afghans don't do tragedy.? This idea shaped her production of Love's Labour's Lost, which she staged with the Roy-e-Sabs Troupe in the garden of a Kabul estate formerly occupied by a nobleman 150 years ago. Making Shakespeare's humor ?work? or translate in Anglophone productions is a challenge for many contemporary directors. Making it work in Dari and in a space fraught with war and occupation poses an even more complicated set of challenges. How does such a production raise questions about the comedy genre and what makes something funny? How does it raise questions about audience or national identity? The same troupe would eventually stage Comedy of Errors (in Dari) at the Globe Theater in 2012, which signifies a transnational Shakespeare even as it re-places the play in its ?original space.?

This is one example of the degree to which Shakespeare has shifted from the centrality of an authoritative text to a multi-center model where different (and often peripheral) Shakespeares exist and cross-influence each other. In this framework, questions of authenticity and intent give way to discussions of Shakespeare in terms of influence and his works as a globalizing force. For the second edition of the International Shakespeare Conference, we seek submissions from a wide range of topics related to the translation, interpretation and adaptation of Shakespeare, including:

    Shakespeare in theater, performance, film, music, visual arts
    Shakespeare in and as pedagogy
    Shakespeare in the context of social justice
    Shakespeare and applied theater
    Shakespeare and materiality
    Case studies of Shakespeare in translation
    Digital Shakespeare(s)
    Intralingual, interlingual or intermedial translation of Shakespeare
    Imitation and reception of Shakespeare worldwide
    Comparative analyses discussing the influence of the Shakespearean linguistic or cultural legacy
    Theoretical approaches to global Shakespeare: postcolonialism, race, gender, sexuality, alterity

The conference will take place September 18-20, 2015, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Please e-mail a 250 word abstract to by May 15.

Sponosred by Program in Comparative Literature | Department of English | The Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies | College of Humanities and Fine Arts | International Programs Office | Translation Center

For details, visit or for more information (also available in French, Polish, and Spanish), or contact Edwin Gentzler at

Monday, October 27, 2014

New book chapter on Arab Awakening Shakespeares by Rafik Darragi

Prof. Darragi has an essay on "Shakespeare and the Political Awakening in the Arab World: An Analysis of Some Arab Adaptations of the English Bard," in here:
Picture of Shakespeare and Tyranny

Shakespeare and Tyranny: Regimes of Reading in Europe and Beyond

Editor(s): Keith Gregor
Contributors: Mariangela Tempera, Hywel Dix, Francisko Fuentes, Mario Victor Bastos, Noemi Vera, Michele De Benedictis, et al.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Palgrave "Global Shakespeares" Series: Call for Short, Quick Book Proposals

This new series, of whose editorial board I'm a member, is getting off to a great start.  It would be fabulous if some aspects of Arabic Shakespeare could be represented.

Global Shakespeares 
ISBN 9781137354907
Formats: Hardcover
Publisher: Palgrave Pivot
Series Editor: Alexa Huang

This series in the innovative Palgrave Pivot format explores the global afterlife of Shakespearean drama, poetry and motifs in its literary, performative and digital forms of expression in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Published within three months of acceptance of final manuscript, these landmark studies of between 25,000 to 50,000 words will capture global Shakespeares as they evolve.
Disseminating big ideas and cutting-edge research in e-book and print formats, and drawing upon open-access resources such as the 'Global Shakespeares' digital archive (, this series marks a significant
addition to scholarship in one of the most exciting areas of Shakespeare studies today.

More info and submission guidelines:

Friday, August 1, 2014

Hath Not a Jew Eyes? (on Gaza)

Reclaiming and deploying Shakespeare's Shylock as an exponent of empathic (if besieged) humanity, Israeli columnist Gilad Isaacs (@giladisaacs) movingly argues in today's +972mag that Europe's Jews have "lost their humanity" and succumbed to a kind of (uncharacteristic, he says) moral blindness in Gaza. Retelling the story of Jewish emancipation, near-extermination, and nationalist organization in Europe, he concludes:
The Jews are no longer knocking on doors to be let in. We have our own fortress now, bristling with arms. But the cost has been heavy; on the altar of nationalism and ethnic supremacy we have sacrificed the long-cherished ideal of common humanity. Israelis and Zionist Jews, and their most vociferous supporters, can no longer see themselves in the Palestinians. And what we are left with is the second half of Shylock’s speech:
And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.