Alexa Alice Joubin deposited “Romeo and Juliet, Allegory, and the Ethnic Vocabularies of History.” Shakespeare Studies 46 (2008): 6-19 in the group East Asian Languages and Literatures after 1900 on MLA Commons 5 years, 6 months ago
Readings of literary texts are always shaped by a reader’s particular location and knowledge, but those locations are themselves defined by their histories. Romeo and Juliet has inspired new sets of allegorical vocabularies of history in locations without confrontations with the English heritage in colonial contexts. Why is the reading of a canonical text often said to authorize a meaning different from what it literally says when read cross-culturally? How do allegory and local histories develop and intersect on stage? As an integral part of the cultural practice of narrativizing local history, allegorical interpretation plays an important role in creating a sense of semiotic referentiality for theatre works that cater predominantly to audiences in local markets. This article examines two productions of Romeo and Juliet in Taiwan and southwestern China (in the forms of Taiwanese opera, gezaixi, and Yunnan flower lantern opera, huadengxi) characterized by their decidedly local networks of signification.