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.

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