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Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation and Performance

Abstract

This essay presents a posthumanist reading of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, two plays which feature a scientist/magus who attempts to control his environment through personal agency. After detailing the analogy between the agency of posthuman figures and the workings of computerized writing machines, as Katherine Hayles has proposed, my essay shows how Kott’s writing, especially his notion of the “Grand Mechanism” of history, anticipates the posthumanist theories that are currently dominating literary assessments. His critique of The Tempest makes this idea perfectly clear when he disputes the standard notion that Prospero represents a medieval magus; he instead argues that Prospero was more akin to Leonardo DaVinci, “a master of mechanics and hydraulics,” one who would have embraced revolutionary advances in “astronomy” as well as “anatomy” (1974: 321).

Keywords

Posthumanism, Actant, Agency, Prospero, Doctor Faustus, Mephistopheles, Ariel, Caliban, Transmedial, entanglement, daemons, Robert Boyle, Thomas Hobbes, Aristotle

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.18778/2083-8530.24.07

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First Page

105

Last Page

119

Language

eng

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