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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: October ::
Polish Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1036.  Tuesday, 14 October 1997.

From:           Paul Franssen <
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Date:           Monday, 13 Oct 1997 16:29:26 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Polish Hamlet

Dear fellow-Shakespeareans,

For a lecture on *Hamlet* in an international context, I am desperately
looking for the article (or possibly, chapter in a book) that I once
seem to have read on *Hamlet* in Poland. The gist of the argument was,
if I remember correctly, that in a Polish production Hamlet was made out
to be an over-scrupulous fool, who broke the essential national unity,
leaving a state in disarray, so that Fortinbras, the foreign power,
could come and pick up the pieces. Fortinbras, who in the play is of
course the great enemy of Poland as well as of Denmark, might then stand
for either Nazi Germany or the Sovjets, or both, who capitalize on the
internal divisions of the Polish leadership over relatively minor
issues. Who knows where this idea comes from? I checked Jan Kott's
*Shakespeare, our Contemporary* and various articles given by the MLA,
but could not find precisely this interpretation anywhere.

Paul Franssen
Department of English
University of Utrecht
The Netherlands

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