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Hamlet's Arab JourneyShakespeare's Prince and Nasser's Ghost$
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Margaret Litvin

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691137803

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691137803.001.0001

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The Global Kaleidoscope: How Egyptians Got Their Hamlet, 1901–64

The Global Kaleidoscope: How Egyptians Got Their Hamlet, 1901–64

(p.53) 3 The Global Kaleidoscope: How Egyptians Got Their Hamlet, 1901–64
Hamlet's Arab Journey

Margaret Litvin

Princeton University Press

This chapter presents the global kaleidoscope theory as a much-needed revision to the Prospero-and-Caliban model of postcolonial rewriting. To this end, the chapter summarizes the actual kaleidoscope of Hamlets available to Egyptian theatre professionals and audiences by 1964. It argues that the origins of Arab Shakespeare were varied; different sources gained importance in different periods. Nineteenth-century French sources helped plant the seeds of a decisive, heroic Hamlet in pursuit of justice. Direct-from-English translations, with a greater commitment to treating Shakespeare's plays as written texts, became part of the kaleidoscope by the 1930s, as did German-inspired Romantic readings of Hamlet's introspective depths. At the juncture of these competing approaches, the chapter considers a high-profile Egyptian production of Hamlet in 1964–65: an effort to mediate between the British and Soviet readings of Hamlet and a bid to claim Egypt's place on the world stage by showing mastery of the “world classics.”

Keywords:   global kaleidoscope theory, postcolonial rewriting, Egyptian theatre, Egyptian audiences, Arab Shakespeare, English translations, world classics

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