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Teatro Praga’s Omission of Shakespeare – An Intercultural Space

Abstract

Teatro Praga’s (a Portuguese theatre company) adaptations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest omit what is usually considered crucial to a Shakespearean adaptation by giving primacy to neither text nor plot, nor to a stage design that might highlight the skill and presence of the actors, a decision arguably related to what the company perceives as a type of imprisonment, that of the lines themselves and of the tradition in which these canonical plays have been staged. Such fatigue with a certain way of dealing with Shakespeare is deliberately portrayed and places each production in a space in-between, as it were, which might be described as intercultural. “Inter,” as the OED clarifies, means something “among, amid, in between, in the midst.” Each of Teatro Praga’s Shakespearean adaptations, seems to exist in this “in-between” space, in the sense that they are named after Shakespeare, but are mediated by a combination of subsequent innovations. Shakespeare then emerges, or exists, in the interval between his own plays and the way they have been discussed, quoted, and misquoted across time, shaping the identities of those trying to perform his works and those observing its re-enactments on stage while being shaped himself. The fact that these adaptations only use Shakespeare’s words from time to time leads critics to consider that Teatro Praga is working against Shakespeare (or, to admirers of Henry Purcell, against his compositions). This process, however, reframes Shakespeare’s intercultural legacy and, thus, reinforces its appeal.

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Theatre Reviews
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“This England”: Re-Visiting Shakespearean Landscapes and Mediascapes in John Akomfrah’s The Nine Muses (2010)

Abstract

The paper will offer a reading of John Akomfrah’s The Nine Muses (2010), a 90-minute experimental feature film that has been defined as “one of the most vital and original artistic responses to the subject of immigration that British cinema has ever produced” (Mitchell). It will focus on the multifarious ways in which the film makes the “canonical” literary material that it incorporates, including Shakespeare, interact with rarely seen archival material from the BBC regarding the experience of Caribbean and South Asian immigrants in 1950s and 1960s Britain. It will argue that through this interaction the familiarity of Western “canonical” literature re-presents itself as an uncanny landscape haunted by other stories, as a language that is already in itself the “language of the other” (Derrida). In particular, it will claim that Shakespearean fragments are often used in an idiosyncratic way, and they repeatedly resonate with some of the most fundamental ethical and political issues of the film, such as the question of England as “home” and migration. The paper will also argue that the decontextualization and recontextualization of these fragments makes them re-emerge as part of an interrogation of the mediality of the medium, an interrogation that also offers insights into the circulation of Shakespeare in the contemporary mediascape.

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Whose Castle is it Anyway? : Local/Global Negotiations of a Shakespearean Location

Abstract

Kronborg Castle in the Danish town of Elsinore is a location strongly associated with Shakespeare thanks to the setting of Hamlet. It is a place where fiction currently eclipses history, at least in the context of a cultural tourist industry where Shakespeare’s name is worth a great deal more than Danish national heritage sites. Indeed, Kronborg is now widely marketed as ‘Hamlet’s Castle’ and the town of Elsinore has acquired the suffix ‘Home of Hamlet’. This article examines the signifiers implied in the naming and renaming of Kronborg as a Shakespearean location, while also looking at its unique international Shakespearean performance tradition, which spans two centuries. It describes how the identity of the castle has been shaped by its Shakespearean connection against the backdrop of changing ideologies in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and poses questions as to how this identity may continue to develop within the current contexts of renewed nationalism in Europe and the world.

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Africa and Its People in the Polish Media

Abstract

The African continent is treated by the Polish media marginally and usually seen through the lens of four domains of stereotypical perceptions that are associated with difficult life conditions, threats and dangers, beautiful and wild nature, as well as original and diverse cultures. Monitoring of the Polish media has become very important in this situation. That is why the results of first media monitoring report were published in 2011 by ‘Africa Another Way’ Foundation. Five years later the monitoring was repeated. It is hard to resist the impression that Africa is still viewed as this poor, underdeveloped and dangerous continent. And the way it is presented translates into the way individuals of African descent are perceived.

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The Annexation of the Transvaal in 1877: The First Boer Reactions

Abstract

In April 1877 The South African Republic was annexed by the British Empire. This was a part of a wider scheme to unify the sub-continent under the British rule. The story is well known. Many works deals with the motives of Lord Carnarvon and other British decision-makers. Much less deals with the question of immediate Boer reaction, or to be exact, the reasons behind their inaction. This article deals with this problem. Tries to evaluate the attitudes of both, the British and the Boers, and to show why the Transvaal Boers mostly ignored the annexation declaration? This text is just an excursion into field which demands much wider and more detailed studies.

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The Australopithecines – An Extinct Group of Human Ancestors: My Scientific Interest in South Africa

Abstract

I introduce the subject of my research interest in South Africa - the australopithecines - a group of bipedal, small-brained and large-toothed creatures from the Plio-Pleistocene, from which the human genus arose. I then briefly discuss various topics of my research, concerning: (1) Taxonomic status and morphological description of the extinct human relative from the Kromdraai site (Australopithecus robustus); (2) Graphic reconstruction of the partial skull from Kromdraai - specimen numbered TM 1517; (3) Assessment of size sexual dimorphism of the South African australopithecines (Australopithecus robustus and Australopithecus africanus), which, in terms of facial features, was pronounced - being almost gorilla-sized; (4) Social behavior of a fossil hominid species from around 2 million years ago, which, in terms of the social structure, was most likely a multimale-multifemale one; and (5) An event from the history of paleoanthropology, concerning the content of the 1924/25 photographs of the Taung Child (Australopithecus africanus) - the first australopithecine skull discovered.

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From Central Asia to South Africa: In Search of Inspiration in Rock Art Studies

Abstract

The paper describes the story of discovering South African rock art as an inspiration for research in completely different part of the globe, namely in Central Asia and Siberia. It refers to those aspect of African research which proved to importantly develop the understanding of rock art in Asia. Several aspects are addressed. First, it points to importance of rethinking of relationship between art, myth and ethnography, which in South Africa additionally resulted in reconsidering the ontology of rock images and the very idea of reading of rock art. From the latter viewpoint particularly inspiring appeared the idea of three-dimensionality of rock art ‘text’. The second issue of South African ‘origin,’ which notably inspired research all over the world, concerns a new theorizing of shamanism. The paper then discusses how and to what extent this new theory add to the research on the rock art in Siberia and Central Asia.

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Gender and Eroticism in Contemporary Art from South Africa

Abstract

The aim of this article is to present the interaction between the history of lesbian and gay culture and its identity on the one hand, and the connection between the visual art or visual culture on the other hand. This essay endeavors to interpret the different meanings attached to sexual identities by examining the diverse artistic activities of a variety of artists: both men and women (e.g. Steven Cohen, Clive van den Berg, Andrew Verster, Nicolas Hlobo, Jean Brundrit, Zanele Muholi). Employing an intersectional analytical approach, the article shows that the identity of art is constructed alongside a person’s multiple identities, such as race, gender, family ties, religion and class. The main research question is whether in today’s visual art originating from South Africa, which is characterized by a hegemony of heterosexual stereotypes, there is a significant place for gender oriented art?

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The Historical Taboo: Colonial Discourses and Postcolonial Identities in Belgium

Abstract

This article examines so-called colonial discourses in Belgium related to the former Sub-Saharan colony owned by Leopold II of Belgium which today is known as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) or the Congo-Kinshasa. Having introduced the colonial history of the DR Congo from the 15th century until 1910, the study starts with a discussion of Van den Braembussche’s concept of a ‘historical taboo’ and four ways of engaging with such implicit interdictions. Finally, an empirical analysis of colonial discourses in Belgium from the 1890s until today will be presented in conjunction with Belgium’s linguistic-cultural division, taking into account age-related divergence.

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