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Shakespeare and the Ali’i Nui | Early Modern and Open Access

By September 14, 2014 One Comment

This is part of a weekly series here at TSS: Early Modern and Open Access regularly showcases peer reviewed articles (or other resources) of interest to early modernists that are freely available in open access formats.

Citation and Link

Theresa M. DiPasquale, “Shakespeare and the Ali’i Nui,”  Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation 8.2 (2013-14)


A variety of nineteenth-century English and American texts evoke Shakespeare in descriptions of the ali’i nui, the high chiefs of Hawaii; these appropriations reveal the perspectives of haoles (Caucasian foreigners) on Hawaiian royalty and provide a point of departure for analyzing some provocative Shakespeare appropriations in the discourse of the royal Hawaiians themselves. Shakespeare allusions in texts by and about nineteenth-century Hawaiian monarchs illustrate the relationship between Hawaiian history and the English literary canon, demonstrating the ways in which the ali’i adapted European cultural commodities to indigenous uses. They also cast light on Hawaiian rulers’ attempts to negotiate the American presence in Hawaii, revealing Shakespeare’s place at the intersection of Hawaiian, British, and American cultural history.

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Author Deborah Voorhees

I am the writer and director of the indie film Billy Shakespeare, which asks, “What if Shakespeare never existed until now?” I also create music videos, shorts, and other feature films. I am in the editing room on a short from Othello and a film titled Catching Up. Prior to filmmaking, I covered arts and entertainment as a writer and editor for 16 years, mostly with The Dallas Morning News; I taught British Literature to AP and on-level seniors, Acting for Film at Eastern New Mexico State, and privately as a screenwriting coach. Currently, I am the Associate Editor for Multimedia at The Shakespeare Standard.

More posts by Deborah Voorhees

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