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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32186

Title: The Afterlife of Shakespeare's Plays: A Study of Cross-cultural Adaptations into Opera and Film
Authors: Sen, Suddhaseel
Advisor: Hutcheon, Linda
Department: English
Keywords: Shakespeare
Adaptations
Opera
Film
Europe
India
Cross-Cultural
Postcolonial
Music
Renaissance
Issue Date: 5-Mar-2012
Abstract: This study considers the ways in which Shakespeare’s plays have been adapted in cross-cultural contexts from the nineteenth century to the present, specifically in Europe and India, through the media of opera and film. I bring into dialogue reception theory, adaptation studies, Shakespeare scholarship, musicology, film studies, and postcolonial theory in order to examine the mechanisms of Shakespeare’s reception in these two culturally diverse regions of the globe, and argue that there are significant parallels between European and Indian adaptations of Shakespeare. Despite the different cultural and political histories of the two regions, Shakespeare’s plays reached out to local audiences only when they were modified in order to make them relevant to the cultural and ideological concerns of the new audiences that were far removed from Shakespeare’s own. Moving away from understanding Shakespeare’s reception either in terms of the dramatist’s “universal appeal” or in terms of colonial instrumentality, as has usually been the case, I argue that such predetermined critical paradigms take away from what in Shakespeare various cultures have found truly valuable, truly affective. Moreover, I argue that the degree of transculturation, both with European and Indian adaptations, is greater when Shakespeare is adapted in media that involves performance, than when he is adapted in a purely verbal medium, such as translations. This process of indigenization through performance, one that I have termed “performative transculturation,” has opened up fresh avenues of cross-cultural exchange over the ages. The works I examine in detail are Ambroise Thomas’ opera Hamlet, Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Otello, Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar’s Bhrantibilash, a prose adaptation of The Comedy of Errors, and Vishal Bhardwaj’s films Maqbool and Omkara, based on Macbeth and Othello respectively.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32186
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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