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date: 22 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Shakespearean tragedies have played an important part in modern and contemporary East Asian engagements with Western cultures. Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Singaporean translations, rewritings, films, and theatre productions have three important shared characteristics, namely hybridization of genres, intra-regional and trans-historical allusions, and spirituality. These adaptations tend to present the plays in hybrid performative genres, sometimes turning tragedy into comedy or parody. These adaptations are also informed by intra-regional borrowing and allusions that matter to each separate cultural location and to East Asia as a whole. They tend to interpret Shakespearean tragedies through issues of spirituality and through the artists’ personal, rather than national, identities, giving primacy to personal life stories and to the interaction with the audience, rather than attempting ‘authentic’ representations either of Shakespearean tragedy or indeed of ‘Asia’.

Keywords: East Asia, hybrid genres, intra-regional borrowing, spirituality

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