The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0389  Sunday, 11 August 2013


From:        John Collick <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         August 7, 2013 10:48:14 AM EDT

Subject:     BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Shakespeare, Cinema and Society


Shakespeare, Cinema and Society


I’ve just reissued my book Shakespeare, Cinema and Society (Manchester, 1989) as an e-book for the Kindle. It was originally published as part of the Cultural Politics series, edited by Alan Sinfield and Jonathan Dollimore and was intended as the first truly radical analysis of Shakespeare movies. The idea for the book came from my own experience trying to reconcile Shakespearean analysis of films with the work of movie critics and the growing body of Marxist-based cinema studies. One particular film stood out as the point where everything seemed to break down – Akira Kurosawa’s film of MacbethThrone of Blood. The analyses that Shakespeare critics wrote about the film (Roger Manvell, Peter Brook) were often wildly at odds with those produced by film/Japan experts (Donald Richie, Ana Laura Zambrano) and this fascinated me. The Shakespeareans were clearly reading the film as a direct attempt at interpreting the play, and were judging it by Anglo-centric theoretical norms. For example, Peter Brook saw it as expressing the conflict between man and nature. Yet anyone with even a passing familiarity with Japanese culture (and I have the advantage of having lived and worked there, and speaking the language) would know that this opposition doesn’t exist. It became clear to me that the only way anyone could really start to understand a film like Throne of Blood was by analysing its position in Japanese society (and the role of Shakespeare in Japanese literature). Once you moved away from ‘is it a faithful adaptation of the play?’ and started to think about Shakespeare in Japan, Japanese history and notions of honour, Kurosawa’s own post-war liberalism etc. etc. then all the images and ideas that baffled Western critics started to make sense. Shakespeare, Cinema and Society is an attempt to apply this methodology to four groups of Shakespeare films – the silent movies, the Warner Brothers’ Midsummer Night’s Dream, Kozintsev’s Hamlet and Lear (analysed in the context of the crisis in Russian intellectualism in the 19th/20th century) and Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood and Ran (Lear). It wasn’t intended to be a comprehensive survey of the field, and I haven’t included any of the vast array of post-Ran films in the new edition. It was written as a set of case studies intended to establish a methodology. In the new version, I’ve made some minor corrections and tried to make it a bit of an easier read. It also has the advantage of being a lot cheaper in this edition :) I’d be very interested to hear what people think of it after all this time, and whether the approach still has merit. The book is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk -


Amazon.com : http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Cinema-and-Society-ebook/dp/B00CQSYNHA/ref=sr_1_20?ie=UTF8&qid=1375886727&sr=8-20&keywords=collick




Subscribe to Our Feeds


Make a Gift to SHAKSPER

Consider making a gift to support SHAKSPER.