Read e-book online Hamlet versus Lear: Cultural Politics and Shakespeare's Art PDF

By R. A. Foakes

This booklet makes a speciality of the 2 performs of Shakespeare that experience in general contended for the name of "greatest" between his works. fresh severe theorizing has destabilized the texts and undermined the suggestion of "greatness" or any attention of the performs as artistic endeavors. Foakes takes factor with such theories and reconsiders textual revisions, for you to argue for the integrity of the performs as analyzing texts, and to recuperate a versatile experience in their artistry on the subject of which means.

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Extra info for Hamlet versus Lear: Cultural Politics and Shakespeare's Art

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Our world, in fact, is the world of Hamlet; a world that has suffered injury and cries out for justice'. 153 By the 1960s, in any case, a larger sense of disillusion had set in, as seen in Jan Kott's influential absurdist account of the plays in his Shakespeare our Contemporary (English version 1964), which gave a new slant to the idea of Hamlet as a representative modern man. 154 Hamlet was inevitably politicized in the context of the Cold War. The young Peter Hall directed a notable production of the play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in 1965, when people, mostly young themselves, stood in line for hours to get tickets.

Delacroix represents Hamlet in most of his drawings as a beardless youth, and in one early composition, that of Hamlet with the gravediggers, his model seems to have been a woman he knew. 63 Baudelaire identified himself with Hamlet, and hung Delacroix's lithographs on the walls of his apartment; 6* the defeatism and mood of ennui in his Spleen, and the paralysis of the artist trapped in words in his Igitur, both reflect aspects of Hamletism. Hamlet was mythologized well into the twentieth century in France as a dreamer who either, as Mallarme saw him, opts for an ideal of pure being, and finds 'his vocation thwarted, his pure world violated, by the necessity to act',6^ or alternatively suffers from boredom, a taedium vitae, that prevents him from doing anything.

Yet the privatized Hamlet, though still withdrawn from the play as an autonomous figure, was gradually restored to the public arena. The shift that brought Hamlet back from the private to the public world has taken several forms. One was overtly political, and the others, however much presented in metaphysical or aesthetic or psychological terms, tend also to have significant political undertones. The political adaptation begins early, as in Freiligrath's identification of Hamlet with young German intellectuals dreaming about the revolution they were unable to bring about, and is especially evident in Germany and Russia in the nineteenth century.

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