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Shakespeare & Beyond

Excerpt: Shakespeare and Latinidad - "In a Shakespearean Key" by Caridad Svich

Caridad Svich and Shakespeare and Latinidad book cover
Caridad Svich and Shakespeare and Latinidad book cover
Caridad Svich and Shakespeare and Latinidad book cover

Caridad Svich. Photo by Jody Christopherson.

Playwright and translator Caridad Svich writes about encountering A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a child growing up in a Cuban-American community in Florida: “In Shakespeare, before he was a writer on my syllabus in high school and, therefore, part of the colonial violence of the canon that I was told I must rebel against, I started to find a sense of home.”

The excerpt below is taken from Svich’s chapter, “In a Shakespearean Key,” in Shakespeare and Latinidad, a recently published collection edited by Trevor Boffone and Carla Della Gatta.


I was absolutely amused by Ms Csvich’s candid recolection of her discovery of Shakespeare from her Latinidad background after picking up at random a copy of Midsummer’s Night Dream I, too, discovered Shakespeare by accident as a student at Mount Union University who had come to Alliance, Ohio, to study “business administration” on scholarship from the Republic of Panma. I needed an extra 3-hr credit to graduate so I signed for this Shakespeare class taught by a legendary scholar of Shakespeare, known lovingly as “Mom Eckler.” I walked late into the class as she read the speech on the “Quality of Mercy” from the “Merchant of Venice” and I was stunned by the wisdom and beauty of language I never knew possible in English. I went on to read more Shakespeare and decided to double major in English. I asked Mom Eckler if she thought a monkey from the jungles of Panama could do Shakespeare and she looked up at me an told me “You can do whatever you set out to do.” She took me under her hands, tutored me and opened her entire library at her house to me. I went on to get a Masters and ultimately a PH.D in English and taught Shakespeare for 33 years at Regis University where I retired in the year 2000 as Professor Emerita. At 85 now, Shakespeare continues to provide me with the well written path to what it means to be truly human.

Carmen Casis — July 21, 2021