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.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Global Shakespeare postdoc in London and Warwick - deadline is SOON

The new Global Shakespeare project at Queen Mary University of London, run by David Shalkwyk and Jerry Brotton, is hiring two 2-year postdocs:

You can find lots more info on the Global Shakespeare collaboration at their new web site.

Monday, June 30, 2014

What hast thou to do with me, old Jephthah?

Illusions?  Allusions?  Both?  I'm reposting this letter from a reader:

Dear Professor Litvin
You might be interested in my discovery of a subtle illusion in Hamlet to the (ancient) Middle East war. As I explain on my website, Hamlet’s mention of “old Jephthah” is meant to point to these lines in the Biblical story of old Jephtha: Judges 11.12
… What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me to fight in my land?
Judges 11.13
…Because Israel took away my land… now therefore restore those lands again
I discuss this, and it’s connection with the Spanish Armada, on my free and and ad-free website, “Smith’s Hyper Hamlet”,
Please see the following essays on my website:
I Know a Hawk from a Handsaw – Hamlet and the Spanish Armada
Hamlet in a Nutshell – Hamlet Is an Anti-War Play
How to Love Hamlet –
Ray Eston Smith Jr

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Duwayri's "Shakespeare Rex" as a "belated" reworking

Congratulations to my friend, Cairo University English MA graduate Noha Ibraheem, on the publication of her book: "Belated" Shakespearean Mosaics: Modern Shakespearean Intertexts: Shakespeare Malikan, Mutabilitie and Shakespeare in Love (Lambert Academic Publishing, 2014).  

Those tantalized by Ferial Ghazoul's mention of Raf'at Duwayri's Shakespeare Rex in her article "The Arabization of Othello," or by my very brief analysis in Hamlet's Arab Journey: now you have a more complex and extended analysis of the play, based among other things on interviews with Duwayri himself.

I met Noha Ibraheem in Cairo: She was an outstanding participant in a workshop I ran at the National Theatre Center to introduce Egyptian theatre folk to the Global Shakespeares Electronic Archive.
At the time she was an assistant lecturer at the Department of English Language and Literature in the Faculty of Arts at Cairo University and working hard on her MA.  Meanwhile she found time to contribute to The Cambridge World Encyclopedia of World Actors and Actresses and to work as a scriptwriter, writing "Truth of Illusions," a radio series about Arabs in the US post 9/11. She's currently based in Germany.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Al-Hayat reviews Hamlet's Arab Journey

It's so gratifying to see my work finding an audience among Arab readers. A translation is underway at the National Center for Translation in Egypt; the translator is making steady progress.  Meanwhile, Al-Hayat has published an enthusiastic review,
not only highlighting my major findings (using them to contextualize the recent Shakespeare performance in Jordan's Al-Zaatari refugee camp) but also arguing that my approach is an example for cultural historians in general: "Beginning to rethink this [Arabs-and-West] binary could open the field to a new writing of political and cultural history and the Arab world."  Hurray!

ومن خلال متابعة رحلة هاملت إلى العالم العربي، تستنتج ليتفين ضرورة الخروج من هذه الثنائية التي شكّلت الحاضنة النظرية لأعمال تأريخ العالم العربي، حيث تصارع المستشرقون والمابعد استشراقيين حولها لعقود، من دون أنّ يشكك بها أحد. تخرج ليتفين من هذا التقليد من خلال البحث عن تأثيرات هاملت خارج الغرب، لتجد دوراً هاماً لهاملت شرق أوروبي وسوفياتي على القراءة العربية. كما تخرج عنه من خلال اكتشاف تقليد عربي في ترجمته وتطبيقه، بحيث لا يشكّل الغرب محاوره الوحيد.
بداية إعادة التفكير بهذه الثنائية قد تفتح مجالاً لكتابة جديدة للتاريخ الثقافي والسياسي في العالم العربي، بخاصة في شقّه الحديث، كتابةٍ تعيد البحث في البعد الكوني لسفر النظريات وارتحالها، وتعيد اكتشاف التقاليد العربية في التطبيق، بعيداً من مسألة الأمانة للنص من جهة، أو الأصالة الرافضة للنص من جهة أخرى. فتاريخ كهذا لا يحتمل سؤال «نكون أو لا نكون»، وقد يحرر الوجود التاريخي من ثقل سياسة تلك الصراعات الوجودية وتجاهلها للواقع، أكانت استشراقية أم ما بعد استشراقية.