- Eating Shakespeare: Cultural Anthropophagy as Global Methodology ed. by Anne Sophie Refskou, Marcel Alvaro de Amorim, and Vinicius Mariano de Carvalho
Offering a compelling alternative to existing discourses in global Shakespeare, Eating Shakespeare applies as its main critical lens the Brazilian modernist concept of cultural anthropophagy. First presented in the 1928 Manifesto Antropófago (Cannibalist Manifesto) of Oswald de Andrade, cultural anthropophagy is a dialectical understanding of postcolonial identity as constituted through cultural cannibalism—the incorporation of otherness self-consciously, ritualistically, and inclusively. David Schalkwyk's foreword adumbrates some of these features: cultural cannibalism "combines antagonism with respect" in symbolic acts of "eating" elements of other cultures, creating new works that incorporate what is eaten "in terms of one's own needs, . . . [enacting] symbiotic violence that is also a form of renewal and growth" (xxiii). Quoting musicologist Rogério Budasz, the editors argue that European culture, and Shakespeare specifically, may be understood as a "source of nutrients" for new creations (6). Because cultural anthropophagy focuses on the empowerment of digestion and re-creation, it is a particularly apt interpretive lens for Shakespeare's own consumption and transformations of materials as well as the creative, performative, and hermeneutic practices of those who "eat" Shakespeare within non-Anglophone contexts.
The editors place "creative voices"—artists, performers, and directors—alongside scholars to effect the dialectical encounters that cultural anthropophagy offers as a remedy to the "European theoretical paradigms" that have shaped global Shakespeare (14). These paradigms, the editors argue, hinge on an unequal relationship between the Global North and Global South. While theory and insight are seen as products of the post-Enlightenment Global North, the cultures of the Global South, Sandra Young explains, have been understood as "provid[ing] the unprocessed data . . . on which those theories can be tested" (14), rendering the cultures of the Global South as yet more natural resources to be exploited. Embracing formats and modes beyond traditional Shakespearean scholarship is the editors' chief strategy for avoiding this tendency. The volume's four sections are conceptualized as "dialogues," so that while half the book's chapters are more traditional analyses of productions and translations, the other half are "conversations" between scholars and practitioners, sometimes with framing commentary, sometimes without. Similarly intervening in global Shakespeare's Eurocentrism, many of the contributors are from Brazil or engage with Brazilian performance. The inclusion of creative voices is generally effective, grounding theoretical claims in the concrete ways that companies, translators, and teachers have digested Shakespeare's work. At the same time, there is no pretension to comprehensiveness in the anthology as a whole: the case studies addressed articulate perspectives that have not been widely acknowledged in existing scholarship, but neither these nor the editors' understandings of cultural cannibalism are presented as exclusively authoritative. The collection's structure is a useful reminder that engagement with Shakespeare is influenced by a multiplicity of goals, cultural and linguistic contexts, and perspectives on what "nutrients" the Bard can provide.
Most of the chapters' authors discuss dimensions of cultural anthropophagy alongside the specific instantiations they address. The result is a layered, illuminating exploration of the principles and tensions of the philosophy itself (these built-in definitions are abundant enough that a reader without prior knowledge of Brazilian modernist thought can still engage readily). For example, in the conversation between scholar Paolo da Silva Gregório and Fernando Yamamoto, director of the Brazilian company [End Page 527] Clowns de Shakespeare, Yamamoto emphasizes resonances between the Elizabethan context of the plays' composition and northeastern Brazilian culture, music, and political conflict. Shakespeare, he argues, is not copied but consumed, employed as a "useful tool" to articulate "link[s] between regional and universal references, with no concern about being faithful to either of them" (70, 81). Likewise, mingling Shakespearean works with religion, costume, and music drawn from Asian cultures has important resonances for performances on British soil. Samran Rathore, one of the artistic directors of Tribe Arts, argues that Brasian (British-Asian) productions' inherent hybridity is...