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Abstract

Attempt to bring Shakespeare on to the Kannada stage began in the later part of the nineteenth century and fascination for his plays has not yet ended. From the first known adaptation of his play ‘Nagadavarannu Nagisuva Kathe’ (tr of Comedy of Errors, 1871) to the most recent ‘Nadu Besigeyirula Nalganasu’ (tr of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2019) the Kannada theatre has negotiated with his plays in a critical way. As theatre activist K V Akshara puts it correctly, ‘the Kannada mind has received Shakespeare in a unique mixture that can neither be categorised as acceptance nor rejection’. The innumerable translations of Shakespeare in multicultural, multilingual context are a challenge for any translation theory. This paper examines some of the adaptations, retellings, literal translations and trans-creations with the backdrop of modernity and colonial transactions. The paper also investigates the domestication of Shakespeare in Kannada as a part of the process of representation and re-presentation in native atmosphere. The question of class and gender as well as post colonial interpretations of many of his texts is examined.

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