Saturday, April 23, 2016

400th Anniversary updates

Today being the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, now seems as good a time as ever to highlight a few things that have happened in the world of Arab Shakespeare scholarship since Margaret Litvin "passed the torch" for this blog at the beginning of the year:

Litvin's new book, co-edited by Marvin Carlson, recently came out. Entitled Four Arab Hamlet Plays, this collection features English translations of four prominent productions of Hamlet by Moroccan Nabyl Lahlou (Ophelia is Not Dead, 1968), Syrian Mamduh Adwan (Hamlet Wakes Up Late, 1976), Jordanian Nader Omran (A Theatre Company Found a Theatre and Theatred "Hamlet," 1984), Iraqi Jawad al-Assadi (Forget Hamlet, 1994). The book helps fill a growing need in global Shakespeare studies for similar translations in order expand the audience and readership of non-Anglophone Shakespeares. (

Another book by Sameh Hanna (University of Leeds), Bourdieu in Translation Studies: The Socio-cultural Dynamics of Shakespeare Translation in Egypt, was published by Routledge in late March. In it, Hanna explores Arabic translations of Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and King Lear in light of Pierre Bourdieu's "sociology of cultural production." (

On April 5, the Globe to Globe Hamlet tour, which consisted of a company of actors from Shakespeare's Globe in London performing Hamlet in every country in the world at least once, finished its tour of the Arab world with a performance in Erbil, Iraq. This tour included performances in the West Bank and in refugee camps near (but not within) Yemen and Syria, as well as two shows in Malta (in lieu of Libya). The group's visit to Saudi Arabia on January 9th likely marked the first professional production of Hamlet on Saudi soil. (

Lastly, this blog received a shout-out on in a post by freelance journalist M. Lynx Qualey entitled "Arabic Shakespeares: From Theatre to TV to YouTube." The post features "out-takes" for another article of hers posted today at The New Arab: "The Arabic Shakespeares: Subversive, political, and entertaining."

In the near future, look forward to posts about the Shakespeare conference occurring today in Alexandria, Egypt (live-tweeted by @GlobalShaxpeare), as well as a prominent Egyptian Shakespeare scholar and translator of the 1920s and 30s who later immigrated to the United States and has been described as "immigrant zero" for Egyptian-Americans.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Passing the baton

After almost ten years of keeping up this blog -- sometimes obsessively, but alas often desultorily -- I'm delighted to hand it over to fellow Shaksbir-ologist David Moberly of the University of Minnesota.
Trained as a bona fide early modernist ("Turk" dramas, captivity narratives), David has more recently turned to modern Arabic adaptations of Shakespeare (1927-present). He has already been running a fantastic Facebook feed of Shakes-related Arabic news and cultural production, and he has contributed some fun movie notes to the Global Shakespeare online archive. We haven't met in person, but hopefully that will happen at the Arab/ic panel at the World Shakespeare Congress in London this coming August 5, 1:30-3pm.

Over to you, David -- مع ألف سلامة!

--Margaret Litvin

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

PhD fellowship for World Shakespeare Bibliography

Texas A&M University has decided to support the World Shakespeare Bibliography Online by bringing in a PhD student to work on this project full time. This is a really cool resource but much in need of updating. It would be wonderful to get an Arabist into this position!  Details at

Here's the beginning of the announcement:

World Shakespeare Bibliography Online PhD Student Fellowship

The World Shakespeare Bibliography is seeking doctoral fellows interested in early modern literature and/or digital humanities.
The selected fellow will be an incoming PhD student in English at Texas A&M University. The World Shakespeare Bibliography PhD fellow will serve as a graduate research assistant in the English Department at Texas A&M, which pays a monthly stipend and includes health insurance. The University pays tuition for students holding fellowships and assistantships.
The World Shakespeare Bibliography PhD fellow will work for the World Shakespeare Bibliography for one year. The fellowship is for nine months, with a strong likelihood of summer support. After the first year, students will be shifted to a graduate teaching assistantship in the English Department, at the same funding level. Students are also eligible for many additional funding opportunities, through the English Department, the College of Liberal Arts, the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies, Cushing Memorial Library and Archives and the Melbern C. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research). Graduate assistantships are renewable for a total of five years, contingent on good progress toward the degree.
The successful applicant will have the opportunity to learn about the cutting edge of Shakespeare scholarship and will gain work experience in a longstanding global digital humanities project. Fellows will have the opportunity to work in a vibrant department with strengths in early modern studies and digital humanities. World Shakespeare Bibliography fellows will be encouraged to take advantage of the rare book collection at the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives and opportunities available through the Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture. The World Shakespeare Bibliography PhD fellow will be eligible to apply for funded conference travel, a student exchange to Aberystwyth, Wales, and further training programs such as the Digital Humanities Summer Institute. Texas A&M is a member of the Folger Institute Consortium, and our students and staff regularly participate in Folger Shakespeare Library events.
Ideal applicants will be strong academic candidates with interest in early modern studies and/or digital humanities. Basic computer skills required: specific training will be given upon arrival. The strongest candidates will be self-motivated, detail-oriented students looking forward to gaining new research skills. Second languages are helpful but not required.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Funding available to attend World Shakespeare Congress

The British Council is supporting some scholarships to attend the congress in the UK this summer. Here's the announcement. Deadline Monday 16 November.  It would be great to see some early-career Arab Shakespeareans there.

Friday, September 25, 2015

More on Shakespeare in Kabul

The show was ten years ago, the first book about it (as this blog reported) was three years ago, and it's still not Arabic-related.  But never mind.  Here's another book:

 Coming soon to a bookstore near you.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Academic article on Arab Shakespeares for British audiences

Happy to report that three years after the theatre festivals it analyzes, the article I co-authored with Saffron Walkling and Raphael Cormack for the Routledge journal Shakespeare is live: 
Margaret Litvin, Saffron Walkling & Raphael Cormack (2015): Full of noises: when “World Shakespeare” met the “ArabSpring.” Shakespeare.

We look from various angles at Ashtar's Richard II, Monadhil Daood's Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad, and APA's Macbeth: Laila and Ben--A Bloody History.
First 50 readers can download an eprint here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Arab Shakespeares at WSC 2016

The World Shakespeare Congress has posted its program for next summer's WSC, to be held in Britain.We have an amazingly diverse set of topics (translation, performance, film, plays, sonnets, sources...) on our Arab Shakespeares panel, and I'm happy to see some dynamic younger scholars joining the conversation.

“Re-Casting Shakespeare: Translations, Adaptations, and Performances Across the Arab World”
Katherine Hennessey (University of Warwick/Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom), Margaret Litvin (Boston University, United States), Graham Holderness (University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom), Rafik Darragi (University of Tunis, Tunisia), David C. Moberly (University of Minnesota, United States), Noha Ibraheem (Cairo University, Egypt), Paulo Horta (New York University Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)