The UCL Hebrew and Jewish Studies Department presents a student/staff production of Ithiel the Cushite of Venice, the first Hebrew version of Shakespeare’s Othello.
Ithiel is the first Hebrew-language translation of a complete Shakespeare play. It was translated by Isaac Salkinson, a Lithuanian Jew who had converted to Christianity, and was published in Vienna in 1874. Salkinson’s translation is a product of the nineteenth-century Jewish Enlightenment project to create a modern European-style literature in Hebrew before the language was revived as a vernacular in fin de siècle Palestine. Ithiel offers a unique and fascinating perspective on global Shakespeare. In this unusual version of the iconic play, characters have biblical names, references to Christianity and Classical mythology have been replaced with Jewish equivalents, and the lines are replete with a rich layering of biblical, rabbinic, and medieval Hebrew textual references.
This production brings Salkinson’s groundbreaking translation to life.