Worlds Elsewhere

Worlds Elsewhere

Journeys Around Shakespeare's Globe

Book - 2016
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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.

Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Company, [2016]
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9780805097344
Branch Call Number: 822.33 SHAKESPE F DICKSON
Characteristics: xxvii, 484 pages ; 25 cm


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bwortman Oct 07, 2016

Inspired by an international Shakespeare festival held in London in the lead-up to the 2012 Olympics, journalist Dickson decides to explore just what has made Shakespeare and his plays such an international sensation. Over the next few years he travels to Germany, the USA, India, South Africa, and China to explore the history and various iterations of Shakespeare and his works in these widely varying locales. Dickson explores questions like how much the plays remain Shakespeare's when translated into other (contemporary) languages and contexts, whether the wide dissemination of the plays is just a result of colonialism rather than global appeal, and the different political uses for the Bard and his plays, among others. Part travelogue, part history, and part critical exploration Shakespeare's plays in multiple cultural contexts, the book is a fascinating exploration of just why so many people continue to read and perform plays in times and places far-flung from the Bard's origins rendered in beautifully evocative prose. Recommended for Shakespeare fans who enjoy a dose of armchair travel.


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