Catalogue

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Hamlet's Arab journey [electronic resource] : Shakespeare's prince and Nasser's ghost /
Margaret Litvin.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2011.
description
xviii, 269 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0691137803 (alk. paper), 9780691137803 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2011.
isbn
0691137803 (alk. paper)
9780691137803 (alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
Introduction -- Hamlet in the daily discourse of Arab identity -- Nasser's dramatic imagination, 1952-64 -- The global kaleidoscope: how Egyptians got their Hamlet, 1901-64 -- Hamletizing the Arab Muslim hero, 1964-67 -- Time out of joint, 1967-76 -- Six plays in search of a protagonist, 1976-2002 -- Epilogue : Hamlets without Hamlet.
catalogue key
8841365
 
Includes bibliographical references (p.237]-255) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"A fascinating look at how one of the Western world's most iconic literary characters has been appropriated by Arabs as a symbol of secularism, nationalism, or Islamism, depending on the prevailing political mood. Hamlet's Arab Journey is not just a brilliant work of literary analysis--it is a wholly new way of thinking about modern Arab literary and political culture. Indeed, Litvin presents readers with a fresh interpretation of Arab history in the twentieth century, one told through the lens of perhaps the most famous play in the world. This is bold, clever, and fresh scholarship, written in clear and accessible prose, and intended for anyone who cares about the power of literature to transform society--for good or bad."--Reza Aslan, author No god but God and Beyond Fundamentalism "In this highly commendable book, Litvin looks at the cultural and political reasons that explain readings of Hamlet through different intervals in recent Arab history. The book's topic is wonderfully chosen and argued, and will gather the attention of a wide range of readers."--Muhsin Jassim Al-Musawi, Columbia University "Presenting a strong and convincing argument, fascinating details, good historical contextualization, and a fast-paced narrative, this engrossing book shows how various productions and manifestations of Hamlet are in conversation with each other and with an enormous range of intellectual and artistic regions in the Arab world. It will reanimate conversations amongst various audiences interested in contemporary Arab cultural creation, the interplay of politics and culture, and of course, Shakespeare."--Marilyn Booth, University of Edinburgh
Flap Copy
"A fascinating look at how one of the Western world's most iconic literary characters has been appropriated by Arabs as a symbol of secularism, nationalism, or Islamism, depending on the prevailing political mood. Hamlet's Arab Journey is not just a brilliant work of literary analysis--it is a wholly new way of thinking about modern Arab literary and political culture. Indeed, Litvin presents readers with a fresh interpretation of Arab history in the twentieth century, one told through the lens of perhaps the most famous play in the world. This is bold, clever, and fresh scholarship, written in clear and accessible prose, and intended for anyone who cares about the power of literature to transform society--for good or bad."-- Reza Aslan, author No god but God and Beyond Fundamentalism "Presenting a strong and convincing argument, fascinating details, good historical contextualization, and a fast-paced narrative, this engrossing book shows how various productions and manifestations of Hamlet are in conversation with each other and with an enormous range of intellectual and artistic regions in the Arab world. It will reanimate conversations amongst various audiences interested in contemporary Arab cultural creation, the interplay of politics and culture, and of course, Shakespeare."-- Marilyn Booth, University of Edinburgh
Flap Copy
"A fascinating look at how one of the Western world's most iconic literary characters has been appropriated by Arabs as a symbol of secularism, nationalism, or Islamism, depending on the prevailing political mood. Hamlet's Arab Journey is not just a brilliant work of literary analysis--it is a wholly new way of thinking about modern Arab literary and political culture. Indeed, Litvin presents readers with a fresh interpretation of Arab history in the twentieth century, one told through the lens of perhaps the most famous play in the world. This is bold, clever, and fresh scholarship, written in clear and accessible prose, and intended for anyone who cares about the power of literature to transform society--for good or bad."--Reza Aslan, author No god but God and Beyond Fundamentalism "Presenting a strong and convincing argument, fascinating details, good historical contextualization, and a fast-paced narrative, this engrossing book shows how various productions and manifestations of Hamlet are in conversation with each other and with an enormous range of intellectual and artistic regions in the Arab world. It will reanimate conversations amongst various audiences interested in contemporary Arab cultural creation, the interplay of politics and culture, and of course, Shakespeare."--Marilyn Booth, University of Edinburgh
Flap Copy
"In this highly commendable book, Litvin looks at the cultural and political reasons that explain readings of Hamlet through different intervals in recent Arab history. The book's topic is wonderfully chosen and argued, and will gather the attention of a wide range of readers."--Muhsin Jassim Al-Musawi, Columbia University "Presenting a strong and convincing argument, fascinating details, good historical contextualization, and a fast-paced narrative, this engrossing book shows how various productions and manifestations of Hamlet are in conversation with each other and with an enormous range of intellectual and artistic regions in the Arab world. It will reanimate conversations amongst various audiences interested in contemporary Arab cultural creation, the interplay of politics and culture, and of course, Shakespeare."--Marilyn Booth, University of Edinburgh
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2012-03-01:
Studying productions of Hamlet across the Arab world, including performances in Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, Egypt, and Syria, Litvin (Boston Univ.) draws broad parallels between the struggles of Shakespeare's protagonist and the frustrated political and cultural hopes of Arab intellectuals. Citing an interesting variety of sources--from videos and reviews to scripts and interviews--the author provides a new perspective on how Shakespearean drama has been appropriated in various international and political contexts. Besides shedding light on the unique Arab Hamlet tradition, Litvin explores the ways that French and Russian versions of the play shaped and influenced Arab imagination, emphasizing the pivotal roles played by Soviet and Eastern European dramatizations of the melancholy Dane. In the Arab theatrical tradition, close parallels have been drawn between the ghost of Hamlet's father and Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser, and Hamlet has been variously imagined as an operatic hero, a revolutionary, a stifled dissident, and even the star of a campy musical that transformed the tragic denouement into a happy ending. This is a book for theater historians and scholars of Arab culture and politics, although it has little new to say about Shakespeare. Summing Up: Recommended. Faculty researchers. D. Pesta University of Wisconsin--Oshkosh
Reviews
Review Quotes
"An exceptional work that crosses many disciplinary boundaries, Margaret Litvin's Hamlet's Arab Journey not only provides a new approach to the study of international Shakespeare appropriation, but also promises an engaging and narrative-rich point of access to the operations of Arab cultural and political identities."-- Lobna Ismail, Theatre Research International
Studying productions of Hamlet across the Arab world, including performances in Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, Egypt, and Syria, Litvin draws broad parallels between the struggles of Shakespeare's protagonist and the frustrated political and cultural hopes of Arab intellectuals. Citing an interesting variety of sources--from videos and reviews to scripts and interviews--the author provides a new perspective on how Shakespearean drama has been appropriated in various international and political contexts.
"Studying productions of Hamlet across the Arab world, including performances in Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, Egypt, and Syria, Litvin draws broad parallels between the struggles of Shakespeare's protagonist and the frustrated political and cultural hopes of Arab intellectuals. Citing an interesting variety of sources--from videos and reviews to scripts and interviews--the author provides a new perspective on how Shakespearean drama has been appropriated in various international and political contexts."-- Choice
Studying productions of Hamlet across the Arab world, including performances in Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, Egypt, and Syria, Litvin draws broad parallels between the struggles of Shakespeare's protagonist and the frustrated political and cultural hopes of Arab intellectuals. Citing an interesting variety of sources--from videos and reviews to scripts and interviews--the author provides a new perspective on how Shakespearean drama has been appropriated in various international and political contexts. -- "Choice
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, March 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Documenting how global sources & models helped nurture a distinct Arab 'Hamlet' tradition, this text represents a new approach to the study of international Shakespeare appropriation.
Main Description
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.
Main Description
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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