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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: November ::
Real Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1984  Friday, 19 November 2004

[1]     From:   Colin Cox <
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        Date:   Thursday, 18 Nov 2004 08:34:55 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1973 Real Hamlet

[2]     From:   Jim Carroll <
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        Date:   Thursday, 18 Nov 2004 13:38:05 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1973 Real Hamlet

[3]     From:   Tom Krause <
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        Date:   Thursday, 18 Nov 2004 21:38:51 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 15.1973 Real Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Colin Cox <
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Date:           Thursday, 18 Nov 2004 08:34:55 -0800
Subject: 15.1973 Real Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1973 Real Hamlet

 >This question, will Will's real Hamlet please stand up, requires us to
 >know which text is the real text of Will S.?

I think the answer is uniquely simple, there isn't one. That's the
beauty and elegance of Shakespeare. Every actor that takes on the role
can do no more then imbue the template of the words with the passion of
their life.  I recall that Richard Burton after some eleven hundred
performances of the Dane told David Frost, many years later, that he
still woke up in the middle of the night screaming, "that's what I
should have done."

There is no Hamlet, I pray there never will be.

Colin Cox

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jim Carroll <
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Date:           Thursday, 18 Nov 2004 13:38:05 -0500
Subject: 15.1973 Real Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1973 Real Hamlet

Bill Arnold wrote:

 >Unless we decide upon THE TEXT of Hamlet then it does
 >seem meaningless and fruitless to argue about Prince
 >Hamlet unless we can attribute which words to him.

Hamlet is not a historical person, so to claim that no discussion about
"him" is possible without knowing what "he" really said could be
considered meaningless.

The various Hamlets are probably different re-writes by Shakespeare.
Stephen Urkowitz argues this, successfully I think, in his essay in the
book "The Hamlet First Published". Considered as such, every Hamlet is
arguable.

Jim Carroll

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Krause <
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Date:           Thursday, 18 Nov 2004 21:38:51 -0500
Subject: Real Hamlet
Comment:        SHK 15.1973 Real Hamlet

Bill Arnold writes:

"Unless we decide upon THE TEXT of Hamlet then it does seem meaningless
and fruitless to argue about Prince Hamlet unless we can attribute which
words to him. Authorial intent awaits resolution! Who knows, in twenty
five words or less?"

Q1 (1603) - mainly important for ghost's nightgown

Q2 (1604-05)- based on earliest text

F (1623) -- based on next-earliest test

Search for "true" text is hopeless; changes might have been Shakespeare's.

That's 25 words, but whole articles have been written about this, and
reasonable people can disagree on Q2/F authority; Harold Jenkins devotes
the first 82 pages of his introduction to the Arden Hamlet to this
topic. I go over some of the debate in my essay, still posted on the
site (http://www.shaksper.net/review-papers/krause.pdf), at pp.22-29.

An important passage for this kind of work is the text leading up to the
"picture in little" line at the end of Hamlet's encounter with
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in 2.2 (the essay at p.23 gives a table
comparing the relevant lines of Q1, Q2, and F).

Given Gabriel Harvey's reference to a living Essex "commend[ing]"
Hamlet, along with the presence of post-Essex topical references in F,
many believe that Hamlet was first performed before February 1601, that
the text underlying Q2 is the text that's closest to the pre-1601
performance, and that at least some elements of the text underlying F
were added soon thereafter.  My essay concludes that the text underlying
Q1 is derivative of the text underlying F (I see it in Q1's use of
"restie" where F has "rusty" and Q2 has nothing corresponding), and
argues that Q1 is derived from a version of the text that was modified
to avoid offending King James, by, among other things, making Gertrude
more sympathetic.

But as between Q2 and F, there isn't all that much difference in
Hamlet's character, so maybe it doesn't matter. There's an enfolded
Hamlet (Q2, F) at http://www.global-language.com/enfolded.html.

Tom Krause

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