Margaret Litvin: "Approaches to Intercultural Literature: Three Lessons from Arab Shakespeare"
- Date: –15:00
- Location: Engelska parken - Eng6-0023
- Organiser: Department of Literature
- Contact person: Paula Henrikson
Colloquium - Literature
Margaret Litvin, Boston University: Approaches to Intercultural Literature: Three Lessons from Arab Shakespeare
Why and how have writers and theatre directors in the Arab world deployed Shakespeare’s plays? How did Shakespeare come into Arabic to begin with? This talk explores several episodes from the Arab Shakespeare tradition to show how they can illuminate not only Arab theatre but, more broadly, the interplay between international art forms, local expressive needs, and the historically weighted ties between modern literary cultures.
In presenting this research, I will focus on its implications for undergraduate teaching. Although much recent research seeks to refine or reject binary thinking about Shakespeare appropriation, this binary model (simply comparing/contrasting Text B to Text A) continues to structure many of our public activities, particularly theatre festival planning and classroom teaching. My presentation will share some specific techniques for making today’s undergraduate students – whatever their linguistic, cultural, disciplinary, and academic backgrounds and interests – grasp the concept of regionally specific interpretive traditions around Shakespeare. These assignments can help students engage in a rich and multifaceted way with Shakespeare adaptations and rewritings. They can help students learn more about different historical periods and parts of the world. Better yet, by illustrating how a work of art responds to certain contexts, deploys certain intertexts, and conveys certain subtexts to its intended audiences, this expanded pedagogy can help them appreciate how and why any artist – including Shakespeare – might bring works of art into being.
Margaret Litvin is associate professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at Boston University (USA). She is the author of Hamlet's Arab Journey: Shakespeare's Prince and Nasser's Ghost (Princeton, 2011) and co-editor and co-translator of the new anthology Four Arab Hamlet Plays (TCG, 2016). For the 2015-6 year she is an ACLS Frederick Burkhardt Fellow at SCAS, researching Arab-Russian and Arab-Soviet literary ties.