1st Edition

Shakespeare through Islamic Worlds

By Ambereen Dadabhoy Copyright 2024
    264 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    264 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Shakespeare through Islamic Worlds investigates the peculiar absence of Islam and Muslims from Shakespeare’s canon. While many of Shakespeare’s plays were set in the Mediterranean, a geography occupied by Muslim empires and cultures, his work eschews direct engagement with the religion and its people. This erasure is striking given the popularity of this topic in the plays of Shakespeare’s contemporaries.

    By exploring the limited ways in which Shakespeare uses Islamic and Muslim tropes and topoi, Ambereen Dadabhoy argues that Islam and Muslim cultures function as an alternate or shadow text in his works, ranging from his staged Mediterranean plays to his histories and comedies. By consigning the diverse cultures of the Islamic regimes that occupied and populated the early modern Mediterranean, Shakespeare constructs a Europe and Mediterranean freed from the presence of non-white, non-European, and non-Christian Others, which belied the reality of the world in which he lived.

    Focusing on the Muslims at the margins of Shakespeare’s works, Dadabhoy reveals that Islam and its cultures informed the plots, themes, and intellectual investments of Shakespeare’s plays. She puts Islam and Muslims back into the geographies and stories from which Shakespeare had evacuated them. This innovative book will be of interest to all those working on race, religion, global and cultural exchange within Shakespeare, as well as people working on Islamic, Mediterranean, and Asian studies in literature and the early modern period.


    Introduction: Where are all my Muslims at or Shakespearean Erasures

    Chapter 1: The Muslims Are Coming: The Tempest’s Brave Old Worlds

    Chapter 2: Menace to Society: Turning to the "Turk" in Shakespeare’s History Plays

    Chapter 3: The Moor You Know: Shakespeare’s Nation of Islam

    Chapter 4: Turkish Delight: Twelfth Night’s Harem Life

    Conclusion: "What is’t to me?" or Muslim Worlds through Shakespeare



    Ambereen Dadabhoy is Associate Professor of Literature at Harvey Mudd College, USA. She is the coauthor of Anti-Racist Shakespeare (with Nedda Mehdizadeh, 2023) and several articles on race and religion in Shakespeare and the early modern English literature.