Shakespeare in purgatory: (re)writing the history of the post-war reception

Source document: Theatralia. 2021, vol. 24, iss. Special Issue, pp. 17-32
  • ISSN
    1803-845X (print)
    2336-4548 (online)
The aim of the essay is to reflect on the current substantial and ethical complexity of the research into the history of Shakespeare reception in the post-war period, both within the Polish national context and, by parallel, within a wider context of post-Communist countries. This refers in particular to the large-scale release of documents, testimonies, and archives which cast light on the operation of Communist authorities in respect of artists and men of letters, revealing a variety of manipulative mechanisms such as censorship or selective patronage. Secondly, the essay proceeds to scrutinise the contents of the Archives of Jan Kott, showcasing the traces of Kott's continuous preoccupation with Shakespeare's themes and productions. The (un)finished projects (such as 1973 Hamlet) elucidate Kott's understanding of history and his compelling ability to endow drama with a contemporary and universal appeal.
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