Post-Colonial Shakespeares (New Accents)

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A post-colonial view of Julius Caesar. - Blogging Shakespeare

The New Accents series has made its own wary negotiation around that paradox, turning it, over the years, into the central concern of a continuing project. We are obliged, of course, to be bold. Change is our proclaimed business, innovation our announced quarry, the accents of the future the language in which we deal.

So we have sought, and still seek, to confront and respond to those developments in literary studies that seem crucial aspects of the tidal waves of transformation that continue to sweep across our culture. Areas such as structuralism, post-structuralism, feminism, Marxism, semiotics, subculture, deconstruction, dialogism, post-modernism, and the new attention to the nature and modes of language, politics and way of life that these bring, have already been the primary concern of a large number of our volumes. Their 'nuts and bolts' exposition of the issues at stake in new ways of writing texts and new ways of reading them has proved an effective stratagem against perplexity.

But the questions of what 'texts' are or may be has also become more and more complex. It is not just the impact of electronic modes of communication, such as computer networks and data.


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An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. In this chapter in her larger book, Hopkins provides a useful overview into some theoretic questions and assumptions about examining Shakespeare through a postcolonial lens. Defining the enterprise as an acceptance of colonization and Shakespeare's "axiomatic" participation in such discourses of colonialism.

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Post-colonial Shakespeares / edited by Ania Loomba and Martin Orkin.

However, Hopkins also pinpoints problems in the study, citing the Shakespeare's plays are used to reinforce conservative ideologies of colonialism AND that we may not be able to really understand colonial domination so how useful is this analytic approach? After these introductory remarks, Hopkins uses the Tempest to examine how postcolonial theory treats Shakespeare, drawing HEAVILY on Brown's article, and then goes through objections to Brown and the state of the current scholarship.

Hopkins essentially argues that, in regards to reading Shakespeare and specifically, the Tempest postcolonially, it isn't so important to historicize, but to determine the role the text has played since its historical moment. Russ McDonald. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, What are some of the current trends and problems in postcolonial scholarship? McDonald answers this question in his introductory chapter to a series of critical essays on The Tempest and Othello.


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The preface is an incredibly useful introduction to the field in that it crystallizes some key problems: how do we "read" Shakespeare globally? How do responses to Shakespeare produce a "hybridity" , or, the liberated subject of colonialism who cannot escape the language of the oppressor? How is Shakespeare a cultural force that has been used by colonizer and colonised alike?

Finally, why is such attention paid to The Tempest and Othello , and what about the other texts?

Post-Colonial Shakespeares (New Accents)

Graff, Gerald and James Phelan. Boston: St. Graff and Phelan's edition of The Tempest is a natural starting point in the study of postcolonial Shakespeare because it combines the text of Shakespeare's most postcolonial-minded work, along with a battery of informational texts that include: historical primary sources that reflect imperialist rationale as well as Shakespeare's source material, short essays that frame why we should or shouldn't read texts under a postcolonialist lens, and finally, the very critics and essays that create this so called critical controversy.

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This is a good text for the balanced critic—one who cannot commit to a postcolonial study of Shakespeare's work without first pondering the limitations or even the validity of doing so. To that end, one can read about both sides of the critical controversy in successive sections and decide for themselves whether or not they agree that postcolonial theory's appropriation of Shakespeare produces something worth studying further, or pursuing in their own classroom.

Greenblatt, Stephen.

The Americans Who Still Speak with Regional British English Accents

Graff, Gerald and. James Phelan. Martin's, Will, George. Though this exchanged is framed in the context of 90's politics, their respective arguments for and against these types of readings are useful to us 20 years later because they state, rather concisely, both sides of a continuing debate about why we should, or shouldn't, read things so politically.

Future educators should be exposed to both sides of this debate should they want to position their pedagogical approach to their own political views, or their particular teaching context. In Will's view, this less-idealistic view of our written culture had invaded our intelligentsia, and threatened to spread these ambivalent feelings to the youth graduating from their institutions. Rather than fearing this emphasis on political readings, educators should embrace it as a pathway to learning and inquiry.

Bartels, Emily. Bartels suggests that while the racial epithets pervading the first act might entice readers to believe that Othello's race plays predominantly in his "othering," she also suggests that the "indecent" rhetoricity of the white characters especially in the vulgarity of Desdemona and Iago's courtship represents a much more nuanced portrait of postcolonialism, one that might escape the strict binary limitations that much PC scholarship maintains: the white v.

While Postcolonialism does attempt to draw new lines between these binary oppositions redistributing power , a real problem with the critical lens is that it doesn't really interrogate the power-relations at play in these fundamental oppositions.

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De Sousa, Geraldo U. What does Brazil, Shakespeare and racial sensitivity have in common? In this essay, De Sousa examines the first Brazilian production of Merchant of Venice staged by the Cia Artistica Limite on May 15, , as an example of the appropriation of Shakespeare as the new theatre icon of Brazil. According to de Sousa. The first choice made was to give the play three DISTINCT voices: the outsider, the clowns and the carnival lovers with certain characters fitting in these categories , to establish a "three-tier cultural context" However, the two most prominent differences are the movement of the "Hath not" speech from Act 3 to the trial scene in Act 4 in response to Portia's question: "art thou contented, Jew?

Giovenazzi explains this move by remarking, "at a moment when the world is seeing a resurgence of ethnic violence, the Brazilian producers did not want to fuel antisemitism" In addition, audiences responded differently to Shylock, cheering at the conclusion of the speech and responding with horror to the Christians.

In addition, all of Portia's suitors are played by the same actor and lines drawing attention to their racial identity are cut or changed. Each of these changes produced a more nuanced and racially sensitive version of the play, but De Sousa does not interrogate the costs of these changes, or the success of this anachronistic performance. Hendricks, Margo. Hendricks describes how the production attempts "defamiliarization" of the play by greatly anachronistic casting of Titania as a black man in a pink tutu , Hippolyta as a viking with a horned helmet and thick yellow braids and most importantly, the Indian Boy who in many productions doesn't even make an appearance on stage.

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In this production, as demonstrated in the above picture, the Indian Boy is played by an adult male, who is "six-feet tall, tanned and naked except for a gold lame loincloth" and is "culturally marked" with a turban, Turkish slippers and a jeweled dagger Hendricks is horrified by how uncritically audience receive this deviation, arguing that it upholds ideologies that exoticize the East using the language of Said's "orientalism" and "colludes with a racial ideology that imagines the Indian boy and what he signifies" In fact, Hendricks also acknowledges that Shakespeare's seeming concern with race in his plays may not have been as predominant as contemporary audiences think, in that the word itself appears only twice in Shakespeare's ouevre and each time in connection with family.

A most wily bird Leo Africanus Othello and the trafficking in difference. These bastard signs of fair Literary whiteness in Shakespeares sonnets. Tis not the fashion to confess ShakespearePostcolonialityJohannesburg Nation and place in Shakespeare The case of Jerusalem as a national desire in early modern English drama.

Postcolonial Shakespeare?

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