Alexa Alice JoubinFeb 23, 2022
Shakespeare and East Asia
Oxford University Press, USA 2021
Shakespeare’s plays enjoy a great deal of popularity across the world, yet most of us study Shakespeare's local productions and scholarship. Shakespeare & East Asia (Oxford University Press, 2021) addresses this gap through a wide-ranging analysis of stage and film adaptations related to Japan, South Korea, China, Singapore, and Taiwan. The book builds on Alexa Alice Joubin’s already extensive publication record regarding the circulation of Shakespeare’s plays in East Asia. In particular, it expands on her previous book, Chinese Shakespeares: Two Centuries of Cultural Exchange (Columbia University Press, 2009).
Shakespeare & East Asia focuses on post-1950 adaptations that were produced in, distributed across, or associated with East Asia. Joubin offers a nuanced view of what it means to think about Shakespeare and East Asia by carefully considering the international circulation of various stagings and films. She identifies a quartet of characteristics that distinguish these adaptations: innovations in form, the use of Shakespeare for social critiques, the questioning of gender roles, and the development of global patterns of circulation. The varied body of Shakespearan adaptations she examines are alternately funny, dramatic, and thought-provoking, but never boring.
Several of the works described in both the interview and the book are available online through the Global Shakespeares Video and Performance Archive.
Amanda Kennell is an Assistant Teaching Professor of International Studies at North Carolina State University. She writes about Japanese media and is currently completing Alice in Japanese Wonderlands: Translation, Adaptation, Mediation, a book about contemporary media and Japanese adaptations of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland novels.