Jazzy Ontology: Representations of Fractured and Racialised Identity in Othello and All Night Long

Abstract

Through an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello (1603), Basil Dearden’s All Night Long (1962) reconfigures the play’s constructions of self to approach a conversation about racial identity in diasporic communities and how appropriation modifies and threatens selfhood.1 In Othello, Shakespeare conceives the self as something created and modified by the Other through interpersonal exchange. He stretches and explores to its limits such a construction of self, showing how it tends towards tragedy and how, through a manipulation of the eye and what it perceives, the singular self can fracture into multiple. For Dearden, jazz presents itself as a suitable body of work to probe and engage with this theme in several ways. Jazz is a cultural product of black diaspora which functions, in part, to nurture black identity and community in the face of racial delegitimisation by dominant white populations.

How to Cite

Langham, T., (2024) “Jazzy Ontology: Representations of Fractured and Racialised Identity in Othello and All Night Long”, Moveable Type 15(1), 38-46. doi: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.1755-4527.1772

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Thomas Langham

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