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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: September ::
Re: Bushmen Don't Understand Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1926  Thursday, 19 September 2002

From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Wednesday, 18 Sep 2002 19:57:29 +0100
Subject: 13.1913 Re: Bushmen Don't Understand Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1913 Re: Bushmen Don't Understand Hamlet

>From:           Tom Dale Keever <
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>Her essay, "Shakespeare in the Bush," appears in a volume of Shakespeare
>scholarship, I think for the first time, in the recent "Critical Essays
>on Shakespeare's Hamlet," edited by David Scott Kastan and published by
>G. K. Hall.

After some googling around, it seems likely that the Tiv anecdote would
originate in _Return to Laughter_ by Elenore Smith Bowen (Harper and
Brothers: 1954; Natural History Library, Anchor Books, Doubleday, New
York: 1964.). Laura Bohannon published this as an "anthropological
novel" (sic!) under the concealment of a lightly-transformed version of
her maiden name, Elizabeth Bowen-Smith (later to become the wife of Paul
J. Bohannon).

A Web version, taken from:

Bohannon, Laura (1971), from Conformity and Conflict: Readings in
Cultural Anthropology, eds. James P. Spradley and David W. McCurdy
Boston: Little Brown and Company.

... can be found at:

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/people/home/idris/Essays/Shakes_in_Bush.htm

My (admittedly vague and undocumented) understanding is that Laura
Bohannon delivered the current version as a talk on the (as then was)
Third Program, now BBC Radio 3, and that this was then published in _The
Listener_, possibly under the title of "Shakespeare and the Tiv".

Somewhat to my amazement, my local university library has a copy of
_Return to Laughter_ [the 1964 printing], which I'll try to read and
either confirm or deny that this is the ultimate origin of Bohannon's
description of the dealings of the Tiv with _Hamlet_.

Robin Hamilton

[This repeats a few things I posted earlier, but I wanted to keep it all
together.  RH.]

ADDENDUM:

A little further googling took me to, of all places, the SHAKSPER
archives for 1993.

http://www.shaksper.net/archives/1993/0831.html

... will plug into the thread, but I quote this in confirmation of my
radio suggestion:

>Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 836. Thursday, 24 November
>1993.
>
>From:           Naomi Conn Liebler <
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 >
>Date:           Tuesday, 23 Nov 93 15:41:33 GMT
>Subject:       4.0825 Re: "Shakespeare in the Bush"
>Comment:    Re: SHK 4.0825 Re: "Shakespeare in the Bush"
>
>Matter of fact, Laura Bohannon's essay was ORIGINALLY published in 1956,
>under the title "Miching Mallecho: That Means Mischief," in a volume called _From
>the Third Programme_, an "anthology" of BBC efforts. The version printed in
>-Natural History_ a decade later is virtually identical except for the title
>which became "Shakespeare in the Bush."

R2.

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