Tag Archives: Shakespeare

Reflections on the Shakespeare conference in Prague, July 2011

A guest post from Alex Huang, General Editor, The Shakespearean International Yearbook

The 9th World Shakespeare Congress was held in the beautiful old town of Prague, July 17-22, 2011. Held once every four years and organized by the International Shakespeare Association with local hosts, this conference has become the convention of record and a cultural event in its own right. Shakespearean scholars, educators, directors, actors, and students from all over the world descended on Prague for a week of engaging conversation and performances.

As part of the Prague Shakespeare Summer Festival, the outdoor performance of Henry IV (both parts abridged, in Czech, for one evening) at the Prague Castle was one of the highlights, featuring a simple but creative, tiered stage set populated by high-back chairs that were more than props. In the final scene they took on the air of live characters.

Professor Marjorie Garber’s talk in the visually striking Estates Theatre provided insights into Shakespeare and Kafka, two men of letters who never met but nonetheless seem to be on the same wavelength. Her talk is wittily titled “Czech Mates: When Shakespeare Met Kafka.” Conference delegates not only eagerly attended performances and talks, but jumped at the opportunity to engage in debates about topics that shape the future of the field. The renowned Canadian playwright Djanet Sears’ candid reflection on her Othello-inspired play “Harlem Duet” set in motion a heated debate about early modern and postmodern conceptions of race and critical and artistic approaches to racial discourses in Shakespeare.

Ashgate authors and editors had a major presence in Prague. As the co-founder and co-editor of Global Shakespeares, I led a workshop on digital Shakespeare and international performances with Peter Donaldson (co-founder and editor-in-chief) at the conference. The workshop, “Global Shakespeares in the Digital Archive,” was attended by more than 100 participants. We presented a report on the current status of the open-access digital video archive, demonstrated how it can be used in research and teaching, and outlined many ways in which scholars and students can become involved in the project. I also offered a dynamic visual model of how the project can function to shift academic practice toward close comparative readings of performance through the making and sharing of video sequences.

Nicholas Clary (Editor of HamletWorks and of the MLA New Variorum Edition of Hamlet) and Peter Donaldson took the audience through a tour of how the rich commentary notes and textual annotations of HamletWorks might be combined with the image and video resources of  Global Shakespeares and MIT’s Shakespeare Electronic Archive.  Choosing a single line from Hamlet that exists in two distinct forms in the early texts, they showed how in an integrated interface a user might move from that variant line to more than 50 commentary notes from the 17th to 20th centuries, through numerous illustrations and art works depicting the moment at which Hamlet comes upon the King in prayer and has an opportunity to take revenge, then through the corresponding moments in Olivier’s 1947 film, the Ryutopia Company’s 2007 production (in Japanese) and in Ham-Let, a Brazilian production of 1993.Liana Leao, Anna Camati and Celia Arns, Global Shakespeares editors for Brazil gave a report on their work on the archive including video extracts from the director interviews they are conducting, and Poonam Trivedi, editor for India discussed the difficulties as well as the successes in her work on the archive, and raised theoretical issues concerning the “global,” how that term structures our current understanding of the project, and how we might make the site more international.   Discussion was intense and productive.

Global Shakespearean performances in our times often move across various media (such as incorporating cinematic elements into stage productions and vice versa) and reference other adaptations. For these reasons, we have spent the past decade building Global Shakespeares (launched in 2010; suite of teaching tools launched in 2011). Based at MIT, http://globalshakespeares.org/ offers full videos of recorded performances and video highlights of select productions, many of which have English subtitles. At present, the archive covers Shakespeare in India, East Asia, Brazil, the Arab world, the U.S. and U.K.

With an extensive collection of full video records and video highlights of theatrical performances (many with English subtitles), stage photos, and play scripts and interviews from Asia, the U.S., and Europe, the digital project is designed to serve as a core resource that is free for students, teachers, and researchers.

Our goal is to provide both a video-driven and a more familiar catalogue and filtered search method of moving through the collection, with the option to switch modes at any time. We believe that a digital, video-based global Shakespeare archive, beginning with a substantial body of work in Asia, with new tools for annotating, replaying and sharing user-defined video segments has the potential to transform how we think about Asia, Shakespeare, and the world, and how we use performance materials.

Why read Shakespeare in multilingual contexts?

A guest post by Alexander Huang

The World Shakespeare Festival in 2012 is arguably one of the most important and ambitious festivals since David Garrick’s Shakespeare Jubilee. Reading Shakespeare in multilingual and multimedia contexts is important. Consider for example these lines from Macbeth

The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.

The repetition is serendipitous, but the deliberate alternation between Anglo-Saxon (Germanic) and Latinate words suggests two pathways to and two perspectives on the world. Act 1 Scene 3 of Othello offers another interesting instance (which is the focus of Tom Cheeseman’s web-based project):

If virtue no delighted beauty lack,
Your son-in-law is far more fair than black.

Translations of these lines into different languages deal with the meanings of “fair” and “black” rather differently. Mikhail Lozinskij’s Russian translation says “Since honor is a source of light of virtue, / Then your son-in-law is light, and by no means black.” Christopher Martin Wieland and Ángel Luis Pujante used white in German and Spanish (respectively) to translate “fair,” while Victor Hugo chose “shining.” It’s eye opening to see how translation opens up the text in new ways. These are but two of many examples of how multilingualism enriches our understanding of Shakespeare.

Alexander Huang is Associate Professor of English at The George Washington University and Research Affiliate in Literature at MIT, USA. He is an editor of The Shakespearean International Yearbook.

Alexander Huang discusses Shakespeare and Globalization

Alexander Huang, a general editor of the Shakespearean International Yearbook, Director of the Dean’s Scholars in Shakespeare and Associate Professor of English at George Washington University, made two guest appearances on BBC World Services this week. In the two radio programs he discussed Shakespeare and globalization in the context of the upcoming London Olympics. Podcasts for both programmes are available online for a limited period.

BBC The Strand: Shakespeare Special (51 minutes)

BBC The Strand: Alex Huang on Shakespeare (18 minutes)

New editorial board for The Shakespearean International Yearbook

Posted by Alexander Huang, General Editor of The Shakespearean International Yearbook

We are pleased to announce our new editorial board for The Shakespearean International Yearbook consisting of leading scholars from the U.S., U.K., Australia, Netherlands, France, Poland, South Africa, India, and Japan. We are deeply honored and humbled to be able to work with such a distinguished group in the coming years.

General Editors

Tom Bishop, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Alexander C. Y. Huang, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA

Graham Bradshaw, Chuo University, Japan (Emeritus)

Editorial Board

Supriya Chaudhuri, Jadhavpur Universisty, Kolkata, India

Natasha Distiller, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa

Jacek Fabiszak, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland

Atsuhiko Hirota, Univisity of Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan

Ton Hoenselaars, University of Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands

Peter Holbrook, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Jean Howard, Columbia University, New York City, USA

Ania Loomba, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA

Kate McLuskie, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

Alfredo Modenessi, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico

Ruth Morse, Université Paris VII, Paris, France

Bill Worthen, Barnard College, New York City, USA

Ashgate at the World Shakespeare Congress, Prague

Ashgate will be at the World Shakespeare Congress in Prague, 18-22 July. If you’re there, do drop by the book exhibit to say Hello!

From the congress website:

We believe that The Ninth World Shakespeare Congress will become a major international academic, cultural and educational event, combining the general focus on Shakespearean revivals in diverse cultures with a special emphasis on Shakespeare’s reception in Central Europe and the roles of Shakespeare in the process of intercultural communication and national emancipation.

Read more…

If you won’t be at the congress, and want to see our range of Shakespeare Studies books, you can take a look at the Shakespeare Studies page on our website.

On the occasion of Shakespeare’s birthday, why not take a look at some of Ashgate’s Shakespeare books?

April 23rd is traditionally regarded as Shakespeare’s birthday, so it seems appropriate to mention some of our Shakespearean Studies books!

You can browse Ashgate’s complete list of Shakespeare-related books on our website.

As a taster, here are three you might like:

Studio Shakespeare: The Royal Shakespeare Company at The Other Place (Alycia Smith-Howard)

‘…a very important book in that it sets out in great detail the history of The Other Place … It traces how this space, through the vision of Buzz Goodbody, together with her strong political beliefs, changed the dynamic of the actor/audience relationship … Alycia Smith-Howard writes with great insight and detail, and gives a very moving account of Buzz’s work on her last production—“Hamlet.” It is an illuminating and very readable account of “that other place.”’   Cicely Berry, OBE, Hon. D. Lit., Voice Director: Royal Shakespeare Company

At Home in Shakespeare’s Tragedies (Geraldo U. de Sousa)

‘[This] book builds on a growing critical awareness of the centrality of the domestic to early modern ways of thinking. Less rigidly historicist than much work in this area, it ranges from modern performance and the SAS Survival Handbook to Caravaggio’s use of shadow, supposedly adopted by Shakespeare “to create illusions of distance”. … a rich and multifaceted repository of ideas. [De Sousa's] emotional readings shine out here.’   Times Literary Supplement

Shakespeare and the Just War Tradition (Paola Pugliatti)

‘As an “innocent”, which is to say non-specialist, reader of Shakespeare, I knew that one could find everything in his work, as in the Bible; what I had not imagined was that the Bard – what a devil of a man! – could also inspire one to reflect on a subject that so closely presses upon us today: the ethics of war. Paola Pugliatti’s book, however, has obliged me to re-read him from this entirely new perspective.’   Umberto Eco

Ashgate at the Shakespeare Association of America Conference, April 7-9, 2011

Whitney Feininger is attending the Shakespeare Association of America conference in Bellevue, WA.

While you’re there please stop by the display and see our newest offerings in Shakespeare and early modern studies and take a look at one of our e-books.

We’ll also be celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity, edited by Mary Thomas Crane and Henry Turner.

Titles from our other early modern series will be on display and we are actively seeking proposals for our newest series, Material Readings in Early Modern Culture, edited by James Daybell and Adam Smyth.

Ashgate is pleased to announce a partner page with the Shakespeare Association of America. SAA members can access the page at http://www.ashgate.com/saa and get the discount code from the member’s section of the SAA website.