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Mandarin, Bollywood, and Controversies | Rhapsody of Words

By September 17, 2014 No Comments

This week’s language news reaches around the global and is full of controversy. The British Government is giving one and a half million pounds to the Royal Shakespeare Company for a project to bring a more open cultural conversation with China. The project will include translating Shakespeare’s Complete Works into Mandarin, translating important Chinese literature into English, and will include a performance tour of China in 2016.

While government programs promote unity and conversation over Shakespeare’s works, some scholars are resorting to mud flinging. In a recent swabble over a submission for an acedamic journal, Gary Taylor Professor from Flordia State University referred to a paper as “unconvincing as those of Holocaust deniers” and other conspiracy theorists.” The paper opened questions about the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays, and the banter over this paper and its potential publication has been vicious.

Those hoping that booksellers have found Shakespeare’s dictionary are probably disappointed. Peter Craven suggests it is unlikely to have been owned or written in by Shakespeare, citing several scholars in his article on the book and its interest. Among other considerations, the samples we have of Shakespeare’s handwriting are in secretary hand, the annotations in this dictionary are almost entirely in italic. His dismantling of the booksellers’ arguments is clear and thoughtful.

The last bit of news for this week is about an upcoming movie. A Bollywood adaptation of Hamlet comes out this month and the BBC interview with the filmmaker and the lead actor looks quite promising. Although it focuses on family drama and a story of madness and revenge, it will still be in traditional Bollywood style. How will “To be or not to be” soliloquy look as a group dance number? You won’t have to wait long to find out.

That’s all for this week! Thanks for reading.

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