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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Implanting the better instincts of civilisation'? Black South Africans and Shakespeare in Victorian Grahamstown
Author:Willan, BrianISNI
Year:2014
Periodical:Journal of African Cultural Studies (ISSN 1369-6815)
Volume:26
Issue:1
Pages:1-14
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:drama
theatre
Blacks
1860-1869
1870-1879
About person:William Shakespeare (1564-1616)ISNI
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13696815.2013.774267
Abstract:Recent Shakespearean celebrations have highlighted the connection with South Africa, particularly in the form of the iconic 'Robben Island Bible', the volume of Shakespeare's collected works in which political prisoners on Robben Island marked their favourite quotations. This provides the starting point for an investigation into the historical origins of black South African engagement with Shakespeare. The author presents new evidence on the first recorded performances of Shakespeare by black South Africans - at the Anglican 'Kafir Institution' in Grahamstown (Eastern Cape) in the 1860s and 1870s. He sees this as not so much a consequence of the inevitable spread of Shakespeare from the metropolitan centre to the far reaches of empire but as arising from a particular conjunction of individuals, ideologies and circumstances, a Shakespeare more chosen than imposed. He concludes by pointing to parallels between the mid-Victorian 'civilizing mission', central to the episode, and some contemporary manifestations of a universal Shakespeare. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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