Shakespeare decoded in Presidency University lit fest

Shakespeare decoded in Presidency University lit fest

TNN | Dec 19, 2014, 12.53 AM IST

KOLKATA: The works of William Shakespeare were celebrated as part of Incarnadine 2014, presented by The Times of India and organized by the Presidency University Literary Society, to mark his 450th birth year. The three-day fest that ended on Thursday saw participation by literary stalwarts, including Jadavpur University professor emeritus Sukanta Chaudhuri and author Amit Chaudhuri.

The ‘Global Shakespeares Conference Department of English’ saw a packed hall, with students sitting on the floor and steps to listen to the speakers with rapt attention, on Tuesday and Wednesday. Professor Jyotsna G Singh of Michigan State University spoke on ‘Global Shakespeares, Affective Histories, Cultural Memories’, where she alluded to ‘Haider’ and showed how Kashmir had become ‘Hamlet’ in the story.

Chaudhuri addressed the audience on the topic ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Metamorphosing the Classical’. He analyzed the influence of Ovid and the depiction of fairies. “In art, fairies are often shown as sinister characters. That way, ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is a compromised balance,” he said.

Presidency VC Anuradha Lohia said Kolkata was the ideal place for such events, “even more so as Presidency was one of the world’s first colleges to teach English”. Former V-C Malabika Sarkar gave a warm tribute to her English professors while talking about ‘Shakespeare and Presidency College in the 1960s’.

A panel discussion on ‘The Afterlives of Shakespeare: Adaptations and Transculturations’ followed with Professor Shanta Dutta in the chair. Other interesting topics included ‘The Global ‘Macbeth’ — Kurosawa’s ‘Throne of Blood’ and its cultural bag and baggage’ by Janhabi Mukherjee, a BA student, and ‘Shakespeare on Facebook’ by history student Shuvatri Dasgupta along with PG student Shweta Basu’s ‘Manga-fying Shakespeare: The case of the Tempest’.

Sumit Chakrabarti chaired a panel discussion while professor Swapan Kumar Chakravorty spoke on ‘Canons at War: Kalidasa versus Shakespeare in Nineteenth Century Bengal’. Souvik Mukherjee gave an interesting spin with ‘What’s in a Game: (Re)playing Shakespeare in video games’.

Other high points of the festival was the guest lecture by Amit Chaudhuri and ‘The Great Indian’ with ‘Comedified’ featuring Anirban Dasgupta with Sourav Ghosh, Yashoroop Dey and Sourav Goyal.

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