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Who is the Indian Shakespeare? Appropriation of Authority in a Sanskrit Midsummer Night's Dream

From: New Literary History
Volume 34, Number 4, Autumn 2003
pp. 639-658 | 10.1353/nlh.2004.0009

Abstract

VASANTIKASVAPNAM, the Sanskrit translation of AMIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM produced by R. Krishnamachariin 1892, shows how, among some communities in colonial India, Shakespeare's authority may have been inevitably subservient to the authority of such cultural icons as Kalidasa. Even as this translation seems to serve the colonial project by promoting Shakespeare, it reconfigures the Elizabethan play to more closely resemble classical Sanskrit drama, and soto better suit the tastes of its target audience.

Consequently, this translation challenges the recent idea that in colonial and post-colonial contexts so-called 'hybrid' texts speak first and subversively to colonizing powers.



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