Shakespeare In Swahililand: Adventures With The Ever-living Poet

Paperback | April 25, 2017

byEdward Wilson-lee

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Investigating the literary culture of the early interaction between European countries and East Africa, Edward Wilson-Lee uncovers an extraordinary sequence of stories in which explorers, railway labourers, decadent émigrés, freedom fighters, and pioneering African leaders made Shakespeare their own in this alien land.Whilst travelling in Luxor, Edward Wilson-Lee encountered a man who called out to him from the summer shade with lines from Shakespeare's Macbeth: 'Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow..' Unable to resist the temptation, Wilson-Lee responded with the next line and so began a fascination with unexpected cultural encounters, especially those made memorable by the poignancy of discovering beauty out of place.Shakespeare may have heard of Luxor (although he would have known it as Thebes) but it is unlikely that he imagined his lines ever being spoken there, close by the feluccas sailing on the Nile and the acres of pharaonic ruins beyond.This radical, breath-taking book combines travel, history, biography and satire in an ode to Shakespeare. Wilson-Lee teaches Shakespeare at Cambridge but grew up in East Africa and Shakespeare in Swahililand explores Shakespeare's global legacy like no other book before it. In these pages explorers stagger through Africa's interior accompanied by Shakespeare; eccentrics live out their dreams on the African Savannah with Shakespeare by their side; decadent emigres, railway labourers, Indian settler communities, African intellectuals and rebels all turned to Shakespeare and adapted his plays to fit their needs. The book examines how Shakespeare influenced the first African leaders of independent nations, Cold War intrigues and even Che Guevara.With its extraordinary sequence of stories and momentous travels from Zanzibar, through Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan, this literary adventure throws high culture and the wild together in celebration of Shakespeare's legacy as a poet of the world.

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From the Publisher

Investigating the literary culture of the early interaction between European countries and East Africa, Edward Wilson-Lee uncovers an extraordinary sequence of stories in which explorers, railway labourers, decadent émigrés, freedom fighters, and pioneering African leaders made Shakespeare their own in this alien land.Whilst travelling...

Edward Wilson-Lee was raised in Kenya, as part of a family of wildlife conservationists and filmmakers, and now teaches Shakespeare at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. He has written and lectured widely on subjects from the Bible to Don Quixote and is an expert on the early years of the printing press, chivalric romance and the novel....

other books by Edward Wilson-lee

Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pagesPublished:April 25, 2017Publisher:HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0008146217

ISBN - 13:9780008146214

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'Part travel book, part history of Swahili-speaking African nations, part exploration of Shakespeare's power to touch the human spirit, this is a remarkable account of how his work is woven into the fabric of African life' Daily Mail'Amid the dozens of books flooding this anniversary season this . is one of the more interesting . Wilson-Lee's account of his East African Shakespeare-hunt is vivid and full of insights' Independent'It has successfully told a lesser-known story of Africa, and it is a story worth knowing' Economist'Part memoir, part weird and wonderful history of Shakespeare in East Africa' Telegraph'A perceptive and entertaining guide to the Bard's reception in Swahililand' Literary Review'I thought nothing could surprise me about the impact of England's greatest cultural figure, but this fascinating, readable book about his influence in East Africa certainly did' The Lady'Wilson-Lee goes in search of Shakespeare in Africa and finds him entwined in every twist and turn of the drama of colonization and decolonization of the continent from the 17th century to the present. The result is a masterly literary detective adventure' Ngugi wa Thiong'o