The Tempest and A Tempest: 
De-ghettoize Classic and Culture in This Age of World Literature
Venue : R6143, Amenities Building, City University of Hong Kong
Date: 14 July 2015
Time: 15:00-16:00
Speaker: Jiang Zhuyu
Abstract: Postcolonial reading seems to be the most popular and dominant perspective to study Shakespeare’s The Tempest nowadays. The play has been reduced to a work only to be approached by postcolonial studies. Aimer Cesaire’s A Tempest, an adaptation of The Tempest, was produced under such circumstances. Scholars who defend postcolonial reading of the play disregard and even reject alternative perspectives which can be rewarding and inspiring. They attempt to make postcolonial reading of the play dominant and exclusive. But is this attempt valid and reasonable? In fact, although A Tempest emphasizes the postcolonial features of The Tempest, it indicates the possible and inexhaustible diversity of the classic. To reduce and restrict a classic to something that deserves only a single way of interpretation is unreasonable, and to make one particular perspective the only privileged one in understanding a culture is questionable. We should avoid ghettoizing a classic or a culture especially in this age of world literature, when more emphasis is put on promoting cultural diversity and cross-cultural communication. By examining the illuminating rebuttal against classic and culture ghettoization, we can find better ways to read literary classics.

Last updated: 10 July 2015