Worlds Elsewhere: Journeys Around Shakespeare’s Globe

Andrew Dickson. Holt, $35 (512p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9734-4
In this exhausting literary tour guide, Dickson (The Rough Guide to Shakespeare) writes with breathless astonishment about the different cultures to which the Bard’s plays have travelled. He himself travels to India, South Africa, Japan, and Hong Kong, among other places, while also uncovering facts from the history of Shakespeare in translation. In the 19th century, for example, between 75 and 100 Shakespeare translations were produced in Parsi theater, beginning with Cymbeline. In South Africa, Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje, a renowned activist for racial equality, drew on King Lear and its themes of displacement and loss in his most well-known book, Native Life in South Africa. Meanwhile, an 1844 poem by Ferdinand Freiligrath begins by proclaiming that “Germany is Hamlet,” in that the country, like the melancholy Dane, couldn’t make up its mind about its future. Shakespeare’s plays have influenced many of the scripts produced in Bollywood and other Indian film industries, and the Chinese and British governments recently negotiated a deal to have Shakespeare’s complete works translated into Mandarin. Regrettably, Dickson comes to no startling conclusions—the book even lacks a concluding chapter, and his amazement at Shakespeare’s popularity throughout the world seems overstated. Agent: Sarah Chalfant, Wylie Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/18/2016
Release date: 04/05/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
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