Translation History as Alternative Cultural History: a Case Study of Shakespeare’s Plays in Gujarati

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Dr. Sunil Sagar, Anjali Ramnani


Gujarat is widely known to the world for being a land of entrepreneurs and for its economic progress and prosperity. The mainstream history books highlight these aspects, along with focusing on political events. However, mainstream history books of Gujarat do not talk about the vibrant cultural and intellectual life of 19th and 20th century Gujarati society. They do not take into account art, literature and culture which flourished equally during that time. Since mainstream history books fall short of highlighting these aspects, we will need to adopt alternative methods. Translation history is one of them as translation is an “intercultural activity” that entails negotiation between at least two cultures. The paper attempts to trace the cultural history of 19th and 20th century Gujarat by tracing the translation history of Shakespeare’s plays in Gujarati which took place from 1874 to 1992. It shows how Gujarati society had the sensibility to engage with Shakespeare through translation and other endeavours. It concludes by asserting that translation history of this kind can shed new light on the cultural and intellectual traditions of Gujarati society..

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