Shakespeare in Swahililand

In Search of a Global Poet by Edward Wilson-Lee PhD

  • Published: Sep 09, 2020

An exploration of Shakespeare as a global poet Shakespeare in Swahililand tells the unexpected literary history of Shakespeares influence in East Africa. Beginning with Victorian-era expeditions in which Shakespeares works were the sole reading material... read more

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Details of Shakespeare in Swahililand

Exact title of the book
Shakespeare in Swahililand
Book author
Edward Wilson-Lee PhD
ISBN
9780374714444
Publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published
Sep 13, 2016
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
Pages
304
File size (in PDF)
2736 kB

Some brief overview of book

An exploration of Shakespeare as a global poet Shakespeare in Swahililand tells the unexpected literary history of Shakespeares influence in East Africa. Beginning with Victorian-era expeditions in which Shakespeares works were the sole reading material carried into the interior, the Bard has been a vital touchstone throughout the region. His plays were printed by liberated slaves as one of the first texts in Swahili, performed by Indian laborers while they built the Uganda railroad, used to argue for native rights, and translated by intellectuals, revolutionaries, and independence leaders.

Weaving together stories of explorers staggering through Africas interior, eccentrics living out their dreams on the savanna, decadent émigrés, Cold War intrigues, and even Che Guevara, Edward Wilson-Leea Cambridge lecturer raised in Kenyatallies Shakespeares influence in Zanzibar, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Sudan. Traveling through these countries, he speaks with everyone from theater directors and academics to soldiers and aid workers, discovering not only cultural dimensions traceable to Shakespeare's plays but also an overwhelming insistence that these works provide a key insight into the region. An astonishing work of empathy and historical vision, Shakespeare in Swahililand gets at the heart of what makes Shakespeare so universal and the role that his writings have played in thinking about what it means to be human.

About author

Wilson-Lee was raised in Kenya by conservationist parents, studied English at University College London, and completed a doctorate at Oxford and Cambridge. Over the past few years he has spent extended periods in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. He now lives in Cambridge with his wife and son, and teaches Shakespeare at Sidney Sussex College.

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