David McInnis reviews 'Antipodal Shakespeare: Remembering and forgetting in Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, 1916–2016' by Gordon McMullan and Philip Mead et al.

David McInnis reviews 'Antipodal Shakespeare: Remembering and forgetting in Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, 1916–2016' by Gordon McMullan and Philip Mead et al.

Antipodal Shakespeare: Remembering and forgetting in Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, 1916–2016

by Gordon McMullan and Philip Mead et al.

Bloomsbury, $160 hb, 239 pp, 9781474271431

In 1916, the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death coincided with the first anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, thus providing the impetus for this absorbing study of memory and forgetting, and what the authors call a specifically ‘antipodal’ dynamic of asymmetrical commemorations across the northern and southern hemispheres. The Shakespeare Tercentenary, they note, ‘lies at the cusp … of the imperial and the post-imperial’, and the antipodal reading they offer steers a middle course between the ideas of ‘global’ and ‘local’ Shakespeares by focusing on distinct but ‘antipodally connected’ parts of the world. Their focal cities – London, Sydney, Auckland, and Dunedin – have a ‘sustained socio-historical relationship across the hemispheres’ which causes them to function in a manner characterised by ‘resistance-yet-interdependence’. It is not simply ‘antipodean’ – this isn’t a study of Shakespeare in Australia or New Zealand – it is ‘antipodal’:

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