Amnesty International has recently criticised the Globe Theatre for including North Korea in its world tour of Hamlet. Students will remember Jan Kott‘s staging of Hamlet behind the Iron Curtain, so there has been a history of performing the play under oppressive political conditions. The parallel with North Korea is not exact though as there the audience will presumably be carefully vetted.
On BBC Radio 4’s arts programme, Front Row, the artistic director of The Globe, Dominic Dromgoole, appeared to draw parallels between Shakespeare’s England and North Korea. I say ‘appears’ as I presume that he did not intend to compare King James VI & I and Korea’s Supreme Leader. (Listen to the interview here.)
Was Emily Dickinson a radical poet of the avant-garde, challenging the regularized notions of predominantly male poets and editors regarding stanza shape, typographical publication and distribution, spelling and punctuation, visual and verbal presentation, erotic love, and so on? Or was she a poet of restraint, who restricted herself to a few traditional patterns of meter and stanza, referred to the wayward Whitman as “disgraceful,” and wore her prim white dress as a sign of those renunciations best expressed in that wildest word “No”?
While the world watches the health of Nelson Mandela, one of the best-known African writers of English has died. Chinua Achebe’s novels are staples of university curricula and his critique of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is studied in English Literary Texts in Context (first year).