Shakespeare’s Asian Journeys: An Introduction
DOI link for Shakespeare’s Asian Journeys: An Introduction
Shakespeare’s Asian Journeys: An Introduction book
Though not in person, Shakespeare travels to Asia-he is heavily translated, studied, performed, adapted, appropriated, and parodied, in a variety of languages and styles, out of different motivations and for diverse purposes. Asia’s Shakespeare, from exquisite productions infused with ancient aesthetic traditions to popular teen manga, has become a phenomenon. Many have attempted to account for Shakespeare’s growing prominence in Asia and Asia’s increasing visibility on the Shakespearean world stage. In particular, several collections of essays on Asia’s Shakespeare have emerged since 2009, showcasing a wide range of intercultural encounters and uncovering fascinating new grounds.1 Besides perusing individual productions scattered over various languages, theatrical genres, geographic regions, and historical periods, some adopt a bird’s-eye view, zooming out for the full landscape. James R. Brandon observed three long-term, widespread models of Asian Shakespeare: canonical, indigenous, and intercultural.2 Dennis Kennedy and Yong Li Lan share a comparable vision, attributing Shakespeare’s prominence in Asian communities to colonial instigation, nationalist appropriation, and intercultural revision.3 The colonial legacy, for societies historically ruled by the British Empire, is self-explanatory: Shakespeare made into the ofcial curricula and was known to all educated locals. Even in places never directly controlled by Anglophone powers, studying and staging Shakespeare has served as a vehicle for learning the English language and about Western civilization. Meanwhile, Shakespeare was also being translated, popularized, and transformed and, like Augustine’s Egyptian gold, has been summoned for nationalist or nativist causes. Though alien, Shakespeare is malleable and can speak to and for Asians. Last but not least, intercultural Shakespeare thrives, consciously accentuating differences between Shakespearean theater and Asia’s cultural and performance traditions, both on stage and on screen. Thanks to the technological advancement of the Internet and social media, these self-conscious, innovative productions spread at unprecedented scope and pace, generating enormous discussion.