Select your language

logo br en 1

A.M. Gorky Institute
of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

IWL RAS Publishing

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications

  • Classification – name: Literary studies
  • Author: Evgeniya S. Kukushkina
  • Pages: 179–208
  • Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
  • Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
  • Rights – URL: Visit Website
  • Language of the publication: Russian
  • Type of document: Research Article
  • Collection: Translation, Interpretation, Commentary in the Eastern and Western Literature
  • DOI:
  • EDN:

  • Year of publication: 2023
  • Place of publication: Moscow
  • PDF

  • Kukushkina, E.S. “Shakespeare’s Plot and American Musical in Malaysian Polemic Interpretation: ‛Drama Youth and Maiden’ (‛Uda dan Dara’) by Usman Awang.” Perevod, interpretatsiia, kommentarii v literaturakh Vostoka i Zapada [Translation, Interpretation, Commentary in the Eastern and Western Literature], ex. ed. by Olga E. Nesterova and others. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2023, pp. 179–208. (In Russ.)

Information about the author:

Evgeniya S. Kukushkina, PhD in Philology (Malay Literature), Assistant Professor, Head of Department of Philology of Southeast Asia, Korea and Mongolia of Institute of Asian and African Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Mokhovaya 11, 125009 Moscow, Russia.


E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Youth and Maiden (Uda dan Dara, 1972) by Malaysian laureate Usman Awang became the first musical in the history of national literature. It had as a prototype West Side Story, the famous American musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In its plot and structure Usman’s play has more in common with West Side Story than with a renowned primary source. The writer belonged to the part of Malay society that was denied access to secondary education, being thus unable to read Shakespearean texts in the original, while there were no comprehensive translations into the Malay language, either. Still, these people shared with the others perception of Shakespeare as a symbol of Western civilization and an epitome of high literature, strongly cultivated by British. Usman Awang’s rendering of the celebrated tragedy appears to originate from his opposition to culture and worldview, historically associated by Malays with the name and writing of Shakespeare. This opposition derives from Usman’s anticolonial spirit and commitment to the idea of social involvement of literature. Youth and Maiden can be characterized as an example of intercultural polemic interpretation of Bard’s heritage.

  • Keywords: Malaysian dramaturgy, musical, interpretation, Usman Awang, Uda dan Dara, Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet.


Find book in the current section