This book, with a foreword by Arthur F. Kinney, covers the major issues of the stage history and translation in the negotiation between Romanian culture and Shakespeare, raising questions about what a Shakespeare play becomes when incorporated in a different and allegedly liminal culture. The study reflects the growing cross-fertilization of approaching Shakespeare in Romanian translations, productions, literary adaptations, and criticism, looking at the way in which Romania's collective cultural memory is constructed, re-examined, and embedded in the adoption of Shakespeare in certain periods. While it posits the problematics in the historical development of Shakespeare's presence in Romanian culture, the study gives a detailed history of the translations and productions of the plays, focusing on the most significant aspects of their literary, social, and political appropriation over the past two centuries. The author locates the arguments in a vista of cultural, social, and political issues that affected the local responses to Shakespeare. This monograph represents the cultural mediation of Romania in the context of "Shakespeare" understood as a construct shaping and created by various cultures. The description of Romanian cultural products and stage history examines how early translations from Shakespeare of production of plays grouped according to genre have contributed to the modeling of a theatrical selfhood that was linked to the European reception of the English poet. The survey of early versions of Shakespeare shows how Romanian translators interpreted the allusions in the text, while the cultural authority of the Shakespeare figure was perceived as a means of facilitating the country's exit from the status of a marginalized Balkan elsewhere. Romania, like other Eastern European stages, has exploited Shakespeare's canonical significance in the world civilization in order to leave its marginal status and assume the cultural, social, and political values of the other, mainly Western, European countries. The study posits that the plays have been located at the center of the Romanian consciousness. The communist authorities put Shakespeare to ideological uses, seeking to legitimize their control over Romania's past and present by reinscribing the bard's cultural influence in their political agenda. Concurrently, theaters and directors used Shakespeare with subversive purposes, producing dissident meanings in complicity with critics and audiences. In the 1990s and after, liberated from the straitjacket of doctrines, directors focused on Shakespeare's meaning for the Romanian theater, producing self-reflexive and highly sophisticated meta-theatrical versions for national and international audiences. This study reveals the crucial cultural functions the canonical Shakespeare figure of authority performs in modern Romania.
Publisher: Associated University Presses
Number of pages: 272
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