Shakespeare Jahrbuch 2019

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Exile and Migration

“Exile hath more terror in his look / Much more than death”, Romeo laments when he hears that he has been banished. (Not only) in the early modern age, the exclusion from the community and the loss of a home caused much anxiety – despite the fact that the time was marked by various forms of migration: work migration, religious exile, or displacement through wars. Shakespeare’s plays, in which these themes are omnipresent, respond to early modern debates but they also allow a reflection of exile and migration in the 20th and 21st centuries. The volume is opened by Alexander Schunka’s contribution on early-modern migration in Europe, which focuses on religious exiles and the dissemination of Shakespeare’s plays through travelling players on the Continent. Using the example of Schiller’s engagement with Shakespeare in Wallenstein, Anne Fleig also examines the relationship between the migration of people (in the Thirty Years’ War) and that of texts. Whereas David Schalkwyk discusses the alienation of home and the metaphysical aspects of exile in King Lear and The Comedy of Errors, Sophie Emma Battell concentrates on the linguistic dimension of exile in Richard II. Both Inmaculada Sanchez-García’s and Michael Meyer’s contributions deal with film adaptations. Focusing on the motif of the border and the figure of the stranger, Sanchez-García reads The High Sun as a rendering of Romeo and Juliet against the background of Croatia’s War of Independence. On the basis of an analysis of home and exile in an animated screen version of As You Like It, Meyer develops ideas for teaching Shakespeare at school. The last three articles discuss the responses of exiles to Shakespeare. Using the British theatre company Nu Nu as his example, Mihai Florea describes the problematic situation of Shakespeare actors in Britain whose mother tongue is not English. Keith Gregor traces Shakespeare’s ambivalent role for writers who had emigrated from Spain and planned to return at the end of the Franco-era. The section is concluded by Kai Wiegandt’s essay about the negotiation of exile and the nation in the so-called ‘Robben Island Bible’.

Sabine Schülting