Keynote Speech: “Putting a girdle round the earth”: The Dissemination of Global Criticism of Shakespearean Adaptations
The International Translation and Circulation Of Shakespeare Criticism, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, June 26-27, 2023
As one of the oldest and most widely practised forms of reflection on vernacular literatures, Shakespeare criticism has helped shape modern literary scholarship worldwide.
Going beyond questions of influence, this conference aims to refocus the debate on the actual channels of transmission through which Shakespeare criticism has been circulated and received across linguistic and national boundaries, and on the various new audiences that it reached through that circulation.
The circulation of diverse forms of Shakespearean criticism may not be immediately obvious due to the diffuse nature of disseminating ideas on varied but connected cultural terrains. There are no singular, unitary centers and peripheries in the international circulation of Shakespeare criticism.
Therefore, encountering intercultural Shakespeare criticism is an experience similar to listening to interweaving parts in a fugue, a contrapuntal musical piece that introduces a melody through one instrument and then develops that same melody through other instruments successively.
Global circulation of Shakespeare criticism is both an exercise in ethics and in cultural agency. We need to go beyond questions of mutual influence among only scholarly critics to consider how new audiences and new forms of criticism are shaping the Shakespeare industry.
This illustrated presentation considers such questions as:
- What are the ethics of cross-cultural criticism?
- How do we handle uneven valuation of Shakespeare?
- How might criticism become a practice of cultural reparation?