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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: October ::
Re: *Coriolanus* Ban
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 622.  Saturday, 2 October 1993.
 
From:           William Godshalk <
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Date:           Friday, 01 Oct 1993 21:58:04 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 4.0609  Re: Shakespeare and Politics Discussion
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0609  Re: Shakespeare and Politics Discussion
 
Regarding Hawkes's assertion that productions of CORIOLANUS where banned by
American forces when they reached Berlin in 1945, last night I was replying to
Hawkes's book which does not mentioned "productions." In MEANING BY SHAKESPEARE,
Hawkes writes: "CORIOLANUS was banned by occupying American forces when they
reached Berlin in 1945" (45). THE READER'S ENCYLOPEDIA OF SHAKESPEARE does not
mention this ban, but describes a French fascist version "freely translated
from the English original" (146), a French fascist adaptation. In other words,
this is not Shakespeare's play, but Hawkes in MEANING BY SHAKESPEARE (45) makes
no distinction between right-wing adaptations and the thing-in-itself.
 
But onward to Germany. For his account of the American occupying forces banning
CORIOLANUS, Hawkes relies on Philip Brockbank's Arden edition: "The
American authorities banned the play in the early years of occupation after the
Second World War" until 1953 (86). But apparently we are again talking about
"translations, adaptations, and independent versions" (Brockbank, 85), not
Shakespeare's play. Brockbank cites Dirk Grathoff, "Dichtung versus Politik:
Brechts 'Coriolan' aus Gunter Grassens sicht," BRECHT HEUTE 1 (1971): 169, as
his source for the American ban on Nazi versions of CORIOLANUS. (Sorry about
the missing umlaut. I couldn't figure out how to put it in.) Grathoff's article
is not immediately available to me so I can't at present give more details
about this intriguing subject.
 
Of course, why did the American High Command ban CORIOLANUS? I guess they
figured out that he was really gay.
 
And what does all this have to do with what I call "Shakespeare"? CHANG, which
means (for those of you who have or have had young children) "little or nothing
at all."
 
Keep smiling, the universe is laughing behind our backs: Bill Godshalk
 

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