Friday, May 6, 2011
Daily Star covers our Shakespeare conference at AUB
Under the nice headline "Was Shakespeare an Orientalist?" Beirut's Daily Star covers our just-concluded conference on "Shakespeare's Imagined Orient" at AUB. Splendidly organized by Francois-Xavier Gleyzon of AUB's English department, the conference staged a conversation some of the most important scholars working to remap Shakespeare's relationship to the Muslim world. Five men were at the center of this conversation: Jerry Brotton, Dan Vitkus, Gerald Maclean, Jonathan Burton, and Gil Harris. My talk was really marginal to the whole thing (I'm not an early modernist), but for obvious journalistic reasons (even if she is not Arab, her readers are), the Daily Star reporter seized on it. She thus ironically supported Ferial Ghazoul's thesis (in "The Arabization of Othello"), which my talk was trying to problematize: the idea that when Arabs look at Shakespeare, "their point of view" (many Arabs, one point of view) leads them to an immediate and almost exclusive focus on the representation of people like themselves. Well, perhaps such narcissism is only human. Which of us can pick up a friend's book without looking up our own name in the index?