Four Hundred Years of Shakespeare in Europe

Four Hundred Years of Shakespeare in Europe

Four Hundred Years of Shakespeare in Europe

Four Hundred Years of Shakespeare in Europe

Synopsis

"Four Hundred Years of Shakespeare in Europe offers a wide range of essays that testify to the unprecedented boom in the study of "Shakespeare in Europe" at the end of the 1990s. It provides a historical and conceptual framework for the research that has been done in this neglected area. The contributions cover three main areas in the history of Shakespearean reception: productions, translations, and appropriation in more general terms (including the revival of Shakespeare as a fictional character). Contributors to this volume come from the European Continent, from Britain, and from the United States. The area of theatrical performance illuminates the cultural transfer and appropriation of Shakespeare's plays. The essays in this volume reveal the kinds of versions and adaptations used in different historical periods for political, ideological, or aesthetic purposes in France, Spain, Belgium, and the German-speaking countries. Shakespeare, as Dennis Kennedy argues, is the great loser of the Cold War." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Stanley Wells

The 1990s were, as ton hoenselaars and A. luis pujante OUTline in their introduction to this volume, which prints papers delivered in Spain at the end of that decade, a time of unprecedented activity in the study of the interaction between Shakespeare and Europe (and, it must be added, of the playwright's impact on the rest of the world as well). These years saw, too, an exceptional quantity of original work deriving from Shakespeare, as is witnessed by the appearance within five years (noted by Martin Hilský) of four different new translations of the Sonnets into Czech. the reasons for this activity are complex. They include the greater involvement of Britain in the European community, developments in the theory of translation study, the general increase in ease of communication, the resurgence of the Shakespeare film industry supplemented by the international availability of films on video, and, somewhat paradoxically, the increasing dominance of the English language as a medium of international communication. Those for whom English is not a native language have, perhaps, become more aware of their own linguistic heritage as they see it challenged from the West. and the fact that non-Anglophone Shakespeare scholars are, as the contents of this volume show, more willing and able to publish in English than many of them once were, gives English speakers less excuse for ignoring their contributions.

Encouraged but not excused by their geographical insularity, the English are, as some of us have acknowledged while not doing enough about it, notoriously lazy in the acquisition of foreign languages, shamed by the multilinguism of many of their overseas colleagues. This has been our loss: the study of Shakespeare's impact in countries and in languages other than those in which they originated can, as the essays printed here show, be a two-way process, blessing those who give as well as those who receive. Anyone who studies Shakespeare, a writer who during at least the last two centuries has increasingly permeated European consciousness, can only . . .

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