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Shakespeare and South Africa$
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David Johnson

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198183150

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198183150.001.0001

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The Colonial Subject and Shakespeare: 1916

The Colonial Subject and Shakespeare: 1916

(p.74) 3 The Colonial Subject and Shakespeare: 1916
Shakespeare and South Africa

David Johnson

Oxford University Press

Israel Gollancz's lavish collection commemorating the tercentenary of William Shakespeare's death, A Book of Homage to Shakespeare, includes homage with words of praise written by Solomon Plaatje, a black South African in London at the time petitioning the British government to intervene in South Africa against racist legislation passed by the Union government. Plaatje's position in both political and cultural terms was complicated, and this chapter reflects on how he negotiated his relationship with the British state and with Shakespeare. It examines Shakespeare in his 1916 form, surveying both the Shakespeare Tercentenary Celebrations in England and the Cape Colony, and Shakespeare's deployment in the education system of the Cape in 1916. In addition, the chapter focuses on how different thinkers, like Frantz Fanon and Karl Marx, have tried to make sense of Plaatje's relation with Shakespeare.

Keywords:   William Shakespeare, homage, Solomon Plaatje, legislation, Shakespeare tercentenary, Cape Colony, education, Frantz Fanon, Karl Marx, Israel Gollancz

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