For They Need to Believe Themselves White: An intertextual analysis of Orson Welles's ‘Othello’

Nike Jung
(c) Wikicommons; photo by Carl van Vechten (1937)

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Abstract

This article proposes to reassess Orson Welles's Othello (1951) in light of his earliest and little examines short, The Hearts of Age (1934). Refining textual analysis with the tools of whiteness studies and a focus on how American media history is reflected in the film, the article demonstrates that Welles's Othello makes a strong (and often misunderstood or ignored) critical intervention of progressive racial politics, a politics which is, moreover, already located in Shakespeare's original source text.

 

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