On Rewriting
  • Chantal Zabus


Each century has its own interpellative dream-text: The Tempest for the seventeenth century; Robinson Crusoe for the eighteenth century; Jane Eyre for the nineteenth century; Heart of Darkness for the turn of the twentieth century. Such texts serve as pre-texts to others and underwrite them. Yet, in its nearly four centuries of existence, The Tempest has most endured of any text and, through its rewritings, has helped shape three contemporaneous movements—postcoloniality postfeminism or postpatriarchy, and postmodernism—from the 1960s to the present.


Original Text Lesbian Woman Original Inscription Historical Fiction Porary Artist 
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  1. 1.
    Reprinted from William Shakespeare: The Tempest edited by Stephen Orgel (Oxford World’s Classics, 1998) by permission of Oxford University Press. All references are to this edition © Oxford University Press 1987.Google Scholar
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    See, for instance, Peter Holland, English Shakespeares: Shakespeare on the English Stage in the 1990s (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); andGoogle Scholar
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    I have, in several articles, outlined a methodology to make sense of all these Tempest-rewrites beyond a postcolonial reading and encouraged criss-crossings over linguistic boundaries (francophone studies being neatly separated from Anglophone studies) and over genre boundaries to consider literature and film. Since I wrote the first article on Canadian, Québécois, and Caribbean Tempests in 1985, a few articles were published but they invariably addressed issues in isolated fashion, i.e., dealing exclusively with either postcoloniality (Jolly 1986; Brydon 1989) or postmodernism (Donaldson 1988; Skura 1992); with a particular country (Canada: Laframboise 1991) or countries (the Caribbean: Wynter 1990). More recently, books have approached a character and provided its “historiography” (the Vaughans’ Shakespeare’s Caliban, 1991; Harold Bloom’s Caliban, 1992;Google Scholar
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  33. 25.
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    Marianne Hirsch, The Mother/Daughter Plot: Narrative, Psychoanalysis, Feminism (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1989), p. 160. See alsoGoogle Scholar
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    Liz Yorke, Impertinent Voices: Subversive Strategies in Contemporary Women’s Poetry (London & New York: Routledge, 1991), p. 1 & p. 15. My italics. See also Liedeke Plate’s Ph.D. dissertation, Visions and Re-Visions: Female Authorship and the Act of Rewriting (Indiana University 1995). DAIN: DA9614560.Google Scholar
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    Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 8.Google Scholar

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© Chantal Zabus 2002

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  • Chantal Zabus

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