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Worlds Elsewhere

Journeys Around Shakespeare's Globe

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


A book about how Shakespeare became fascinated with the world, and how the world became fascinated with Shakespeare

Ranging ambitiously across four continents and four hundred years, Worlds Elsewhere is an eye-opening account of how Shakespeare went global. Seizing inspiration from the playwright’s own fascination with travel, foreignness, and distant worlds—worlds Shakespeare never himself explored—Andrew Dickson takes us on an extraordinary journey: from Hamlet performed by English actors tramping through the Baltic states in the early sixteen hundreds to the skyscrapers of twenty-first-century Beijing and Shanghai, where “Shashibiya” survived Mao’s Cultural Revolution to become a revered Chinese author.

En route, Dickson traces Nazi Germany’s strange love affair with, and attempted nationalization of, the Bard, and delves deep into the history of Bollywood, where Shakespearean stories helped give birth to Indian cinema. In Johannesburg, we discover how Shakespeare was enlisted in the fight to end apartheid. In nineteenth-century California, we encounter shoestring performances of Richard III and Othello in the dusty mining camps and saloon bars of the Gold Rush.

No other writer’s work has been performed, translated, adapted, and altered in such a remarkable variety of cultures and languages. Both a cultural history and a literary travelogue, Worlds Elsewhere is an attempt to understand how Shakespeare has become the international phenomenon he is—and why.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 18, 2016 – In this exhausting literary tour guide, Dickson (The Rough Guide to Shakespeare) writes with breathless astonishment about the different cultures to which the Bard's plays have travelled. He himself travels to India, South Africa, Japan, and Hong Kong, among other places, while also uncovering facts from the history of Shakespeare in translation. In the 19th century, for example, between 75 and 100 Shakespeare translations were produced in Parsi theater, beginning with Cymbeline. In South Africa, Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje, a renowned activist for racial equality, drew on King Lear and its themes of displacement and loss in his most well-known book, Native Life in South Africa. Meanwhile, an 1844 poem by Ferdinand Freiligrath begins by proclaiming that "Germany is Hamlet," in that the country, like the melancholy Dane, couldn't make up its mind about its future. Shakespeare's plays have influenced many of the scripts produced in Bollywood and other Indian film industries, and the Chinese and British governments recently negotiated a deal to have Shakespeare's complete works translated into Mandarin. Regrettably, Dickson comes to no startling conclusions the book even lacks a concluding chapter, and his amazement at Shakespeare's popularity throughout the world seems overstated.
Worlds Elsewhere
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary Criticism
  • Published: Apr 05, 2016
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
  • Seller: Macmillan
  • Print Length: 512 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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