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Chris Thurman Reviews Shakespeare and the Coconuts by Natasha Distiller

Shakespeare and the Coconuts: On Post-apartheid South African CultureVerdict: carrot

One of the most prominent themes in Shakespeare’s plays is unity. Union, reunion, reconciliation, compromise, synthesis: these are made manifest at the level of plot and characterisation, and emphasised in speech after eloquent speech. Yet “Shakespeare” is a word – a symbol, an historical figure, a body of work – that has, if anything, a deeply divisive effect. Mention of Shakespeare tends to invite a love-him-or-hate-him response, forms of Bardolatry or Bardophobia that are typically reductive.

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