“HAMLET UNDERGROUND: REVISITING SHAKESPEARE AND DOSTOEVSKY”
2018. Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation and Performance 18: 79-92.
This is the first of a pair of articles that consider the relationship between Dostoevsky’s novella Notes from the Undergroundand Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Acknowledging Shakespeare’s well-known influence on Dostoevsky and paying close attention to similarities between the two texts, the author frames the comparison by reflecting on his own initial encounter with Dostoevsky in David Magarshack’s 1968 English translation. A discussion of previous Anglophone scholarly attempts to explore the resonance between the texts leads to a reading of textual echoes (using Magarshack’s translation). The wider phenomenon of Hamletism in the nineteenth century is introduced, complicating Dostoevsky’s national and generational context, and laying the groundwork for the second article – which questions the ‘universalist’ assumptions informing the English translator-reader contract.
“FROM SHAKESPEAREAN SINGULARITY TO SINGULAR SHAKESPEARES: FINDING NEW NAMES FOR WILL-IN-THE-WORLD”
2017. Shakespeare in Southern Africa 30 (Special volume on "Decolonising Shakespeare", ed. Loots, Young and Young): 1-13.
This article reflects on the ways in which much of the terminology that is used to discuss Shakespearean
manifestations around the world still operates, implicitly or explicitly, within the constraints of the discourse of
universality. If scholars and theatre-makers seek to decolonise Shakespeare, ‘we need new names’ – or perhaps
to find new meanings in the language that has previously been employed in the field of Shakespeare studies. The
author thus explores the concept of singularity: both the historical relationship between Shakespearean singularity
and universality, and the alternative paradigms that are made possible by focusing on ‘singular Shakespeares’
(with a particular emphasis on performance). If Shakespearean singularity pertains to an historical figure, or a
body of literature, or a symbol, then singular Shakespeares describe Shakespeare as an experience, a phenomenon
or a meaning constituted in the moment of interaction between actor(s) and each audience member. The notion
of singular Shakespeares resists the biographical impetus that is ultimately behind the notion of universality;
‘Shakespeare’ is the means and not the end. The article concludes by applying its argument to Coriolanus in a
South African context.
“MULTILINGUAL SHAKESPEARE: A SOUTH AFRICAN REFLECTS ON TRANSLATION AND PERFORMANCE IN GERMANY”
2017. In Marais and Feinauer (eds), Translation Studies beyond the Postcolony (Cambridge Scholars Publishing), pp.94-129.
The material in this book chapter emerges from a broader comparative and collaborative project that seeks to link Shakespeare studies in the South African and German contexts. Applying one of the key terms of reference established by the editors, I consider certain aspects of “the postcolony in the Global North” by reflecting on my engagement, as a South African scholar, with some of the Shakespearean manifestations I encountered as translated and performed on German stages during an extended research visit in 2015. There are obvious differences between the history and current state of Shakespeare reception in these two countries, and – although there are also numerous points of intersection – I start by dwelling on these differences. I then address some of the conceptual challenges entailed in defining “the postcolony in the Global North”, before giving careful attention to the translation and performance choices made in selected Shakespeare productions.
“IMRAAN COOVADIA: THE ESSAY AND/AS TRANSFORMATION”
2016. Current Writing 28(1): 73-87.
This article is concerned with the novelist-as-essayist in Imraan Coovadia’s collection of essays Transformations (2012). Taking as its starting-point a particular context for reading the essays – the #FeesMustFall student protests of late 2015 – the article considers the ways in which Coovadia both reflects on and experiments with the essayistic voice and form in addressing a range of topics and themes: South African cultural politics and literary history, nineteenth and twentieth-century European and American literature, Indian Muslim diasporic experience and more. Transformation thus emerges as simultaneously a necessary social imperative and a mode of reading, writing or thinking that is cautious about (and seeks to reconfigure) such imperatives.
“ ‘AFTER TITUS’: TOWARDS A SURVEY OF SHAKESPEARE ON THE POST-APARTHEID STAGE”
2015. In Homann and Maufort (eds), New Territories: Theatre, Drama, and Performance in Post-apartheid South Africa (Peter Lang), pp.75-103.
When undertaking an account of South African Shakespeare-in-performance since the legislative end of apartheid, one is faced with a number of structural choices. What is the best way to “categorise” Shakespeare productions? By date - a chronological narrative? By play, director, actor, company, theatre, city? By popularity and commercial success - audience response and critical reception? What I offer here is a combination of these, and by no means an attempt to be comprehensive. It is also worth emphasising the problem of defining the “Shakespearean”, never mind the “South African”. Taking as its starting point the Market Theatre's Titus Andronicus in 1995, this essay considers to what extent South African Shakespeare productions over the last two decades have been patterned “after” this Titus.