Hamlet's Arab Journey: Shakespeare's Prince and Nasser's Ghost

Princeton University Press
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For the past five decades, Arab intellectuals have seen themselves in Shakespeare's Hamlet: their times "out of joint," their political hopes frustrated by a corrupt older generation. Hamlet's Arab Journey traces the uses of Hamlet in Arabic theatre and political rhetoric, and asks how Shakespeare's play developed into a musical with a happy ending in 1901 and grew to become the most obsessively quoted literary work in Arab politics today. Explaining the Arab Hamlet tradition, Margaret Litvin also illuminates the "to be or not to be" politics that have turned Shakespeare's tragedy into the essential Arab political text, cited by Arab liberals, nationalists, and Islamists alike.

On the Arab stage, Hamlet has been an operetta hero, a firebrand revolutionary, and a muzzled dissident. Analyzing productions from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Kuwait, Litvin follows the distinct phases of Hamlet's naturalization as an Arab. Her fine-grained theatre history uses personal interviews as well as scripts and videos, reviews, and detailed comparisons with French and Russian Hamlets. The result shows Arab theatre in a new light. Litvin identifies the French source of the earliest Arabic Hamlet, shows the outsize influence of Soviet and East European Shakespeare, and explores the deep cultural link between Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser and the ghost of Hamlet's father.


Documenting how global sources and models helped nurture a distinct Arab Hamlet tradition, Hamlet's Arab Journey represents a new approach to the study of international Shakespeare appropriation.

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About the author

Margaret Litvin is assistant professor of Arabic and comparative literature at Boston University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Oct 3, 2011
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Pages
296
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ISBN
9781400840106
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literary Criticism / Middle Eastern
Literary Criticism / Semiotics & Theory
Literary Criticism / Shakespeare
Political Science / Political Ideologies / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, Hamlet, and Macbeth — the works of William Shakespeare still resonate in our imaginations four centuries after they were written. The timeless characters and themes of the Bard’s plays fascinate us with their joys, struggles, and triumphs, and now they are available in a single volume for Shakespeare fans. This edition of William Shakespeare's works includes all of his poems and plays in an elegant manner which makes it the perfect gift for any lover of literature — a book to read and treasure! Whether for a Shakespeare devotee or someone just discovering him, this is the perfect place to experience the drama of Shakespeare's words. It is one of the most authoritative editions of Shakespeare's Complete Works.

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