Worlds Elsewhere Journeys Around Shakespeare's Globe

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2016-04-05
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
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A book about how Shakespeare became fascinated with the world, and how the world became fascinated with Shakespeare - the first book of its kind

There are 83 copies of the First Folio in a vault beneath Capitol Hill, the world's largest collection. Well over 150 Indian movies are based on Shakespeare's plays - more than in any other nation. If current trends continue, there will soon be more high-school students reading The Merchant of Venice in Mandarin Chinese than in early-modern English. Why did this happen - and how? Ranging ambitiously across four continents and 400 years, Worlds Elsewhere is an eye-opening account of how Shakespeare went global. Seizing inspiration from the playwright's own fascination with travel, foreignness and distant worlds, Dickson takes us on an extraordinary journey - from Hamlet performed by English actors tramping through Poland in the early 1600s to twenty-first-century Shanghai, where Shashibiya survived Mao's Cultural Revolution to become an honored Chinese author.

En route we visit Nazi Germany, where Shakespeare became an unlikely favorite, and delve into the history of Bollywood, where Shakespearian stories helped give birth to Indian cinema. In Johannesburg, we discover how Shakespeare was enlisted into the fight to end apartheid. In California, we encounter him as the most popular playwright of the American frontier.

Both a cultural history and a literary travelogue, the first of its kind, Worlds Elsewhere explores how Shakespeare became the world's writer, and how his works have changed beyond all recognition during the journey.

Author Biography

Andrew Dickson was born and raised in Yorkshire, and studied English and Renaissance literature at Cambridge. His first book, The Rough Guide to Shakespeare (Penguin, 2005), was widely acclaimed and was published in an expanded second edition. Dickson remains active in the academic community, chairing debates at the British Shakespeare Conference and giving papers at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Shakespeare's Globe, and has contributed to the New Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare. As a broadcaster, he has presented numerous films for the Guardian, made appearances on live TV and contributes regularly as a theatre and opera critic to the BBC's Front Row and Night Waves.

Table of Contents

Prologue xi

Hamletomanie 1
Gdansk Weimar Munich Berlin

Buried Richards 91
Staunton, Virginia Washington DC San Francisco Nevada City, California San Diego

Gurudeva 175
Mumbai Pune Kolkata New Delhi

William Shake-the-Sword 259
Johannesburg Kimberley Durban Cape Town

Strange Tales 347
Beijing Shanghai Taipei Hong Kong

Select bibliography 439
Acknowledgements 455
Index 459

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