"Shakespeare in Hollywood, Asia and Cyberspace" - edited by Alexander C.Y. Huang and Charles S. Ross - shows readers how ideas of Asia operate in Shakespeare performances and how Asian and Anglo-European forms of cultural production combine to transcend the mode of inquiry that focuses on fidelity. The result is a new creativity that finds expression in different cultural and virtual locations, including recent films and MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) such as "Arden: The World of Shakespeare." The papers in the volume provide a background for these modern developments showing the history of how Shakespeare became a signifier against which Asian and Western cultures defined - and continue to define - themselves. Hollywood films and a century of Asian readings of plays such as Hamlet and Macbeth are now conjoining in cyberspace making a world of difference to how we experience Shakespeare. The papers by experts in the field provides an introduction to the diverse incarnations and bold sequences of screen and stage that in recent decades have produced new versions of Shakespeare's great comedies and tragedies and new ways of experiencing them. Authors in the first part of the collection examine body politics and race in Hollywood Shakespearen films film techniques and complement the second part in which the history of Shakespearen readings and stagings in China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan, Malaya, Korea, and Hong Kong are discussed. Papers in the third part of the volume contain analyses of the transformation of the idea of Shakespeare in cyberspace, a rapidly expanding world of new rewritings of both Shakespeare and/in Asia. Together, the three sections of this comparative study show how Asian cultures and Shakespeare affect each other, how one cultural is translated to another, and how the combination of Asian and Anglo-European modes of representation are determining the future of how we see Shakespeare's plays.
Alexander C. Y. Huang and Charles S. Ross s unusual collection of essays, Shakespeare in Hollywood, Asia, and Cyberspace, might seem at first glance to be rather less than the sum of its apparently disparate parts. But it is about much more than three different institutions, locations, or media in which Shakespeare has been appropriated and culturally translated. Indeed, as Richard Burt notes in his contribution, it gestures toward a more complicated theorization of Shakespeare s transnational circulation than the unidirectional model of cultural exchange or appropriation favored in postcolonial criticism (p. 231). Instead the volume asks us to think about how Asian audio-visual idioms as much as Shakespeare s texts have been translated in both directions (p. 1). The best essays offer comparative analyses that illuminate this bidirectionality: Mei Zhu examines the influence of Hollywood screwball comedy on both Shakespearean film (specifically Franco Zeffirelli s Taming of the Shrew) and Chinese cinema; Ross considers the transnational circulation of the figure of the underwater woman in Chinese film and Hollywood adaptations of Shakespeare; and Lucian Ghita shows how Julie Taymor s film Titus draws both on Asian theater practices from Japanese bunraku to Indonesian topeng (or masked drama) and on video game representations of body parts. The volume breaks new ground by thinking about how, in the age of transnational capital and the worldwide web, Shakespeare and Asia are globally screened a more suggestive term, given the verb s double visual and obstructive sense, than the customary appropriation.ReviewStudies in English LiteratureSpring 2011, 73 pp. 492