Do Marjorie Garber’s premises that Shakespeare makes modern culture and that modern culture makes Shakespeare apply to his reception in Asian contexts? Shakespeare’s Asianization, namely adaptation of certain Shakespeare elements into traditional forms of local cultures, seems to testify to his timelessness in timeliness. However, his statuses in modern Asia are much more complicated. The complexity lies not only in such a cross-cultural phenomenon as the Asianizing practice, but in the Shakespearization of Asia—the idealization of him as a modern cultural icon in a universalizing celebration of his authority in many sectors of modern Asian cultures. Yet, the very entities of Asia, Shakespeare, modernity, and tradition must be problematized before we approach such complexities. I ask questions about Shakespeare’s roles in Asian conceptions of modernity and about the relationship between his literary heritage and Asian traditions. To address these questions, I will discuss this timeliness in Asian cultures with a focus on Shakespeare adaptations in Asian forms, which showcase various indigenous approaches to his text—from the elitist legacy maintaining to the popularist re-imagining. Asian practices of doing Shakespeare have involved other issues. For instance, whether or not the colonial legacies and postcolonial re-inventions in the dissemination of his works in Asian cultures confirm or subvert the various myths about both the Bard and modernity in most time of the 20th century; in what ways Shakespeare has been used as at once a negotiating agent and negotiated subject in the processes of the prince’s translations and adaptations into Asian languages, costumes, landscapes, cultures and traditions.


Shakespeare, adaptation, Asian tradition, modernity


Garber, Marjorie. Shakespeare and Modern Culture. New York: Random House, 2008.

Grady, Hugh, ed. Shakespeare and Modernity: Early Modern to Mellinnium. New York: Routledge, 2000.

Singh, Jyotsna. “Different Shakespeares: The Bard in Colonial/Postcolonial India.” Theatre Journal 41.4 (1989): 445-458.

Trivedi, Poonam. “Shakespeare in India: An Introduction.” MIT Global Shakespeares, 20 Mar. 2000. Web. 10 Jan. 2013. http://globalshakespeares.mit.edu/blog/2010/03/20/india

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