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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: November ::
Real Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.2004  Tuesday, 23 November 2004

[1]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Monday, 22 Nov 2004 20:51:13 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1996 Real Hamlet

[2]     From:   Colin Cox <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 23 Nov 2004 01:26:10 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1996 Real Hamlet

[3]     From:   Kathy Dent <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 23 Nov 2004 10:34:44 +0000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.1996 Real Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Monday, 22 Nov 2004 20:51:13 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 15.1996 Real Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1996 Real Hamlet

Kathy Dent writes, "I think we can safely say that all of the texts are
real, but none of the characters are.  It is, indeed, meaningless and
fruitless to argue about Prince Hamlet as though he were 'real'.  There
has, however, been some interesting work done on the relationships
between different texts of the play."

Indeed, do not misunderstand me.  As a retired professor of English,
having taught world lit, I know that Prince Hamlet is a character in a
play.  But he is, as Sir Eliot would have it, an *objective correlative*
who represents a real prince in real art.  And as we judge real people,
we judge characters.  And a character is as real as his words, his
actions, and the stuff around him in the play.  So, I only want us to
agree on an agreeable text.  And I guess it isn't there.  Although, even
the Modern Language Association would suggest otherwise. See:
http://www.mla.org, and their *Variorum Editions of Shakespeare.* They
claim: "New Variorum editions are valuable resources for an
international audience of scholars, students, directors, actors, and
general readers.  Overseen by two general editors and an MLA committee,
the production of each volume is conducted by a team of scholars and
researchers working over a number of years."

I wonder that they will not deliver on *Hamlet*?

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Colin Cox <
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Date:           Tuesday, 23 Nov 2004 01:26:10 -0800
Subject: 15.1996 Real Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1996 Real Hamlet

 >Hey, Shakespearean scholars, is THIS the Hamlet we want to portray: as
 >dubious a character as dubious presentations of dubious scholars and
 >dubious students of the bard?  I admit it plays into the hands of the
 >DUBIOUS interpreters.

That's a lot of doobie doobie doo! The written versions are 'scripts'.
Scripts designed for actors to interpret. That was Shakespeare's
profession. He was a 'play'-wright. Bill, you start to sound like a
modern-day Robert Greene.

Colin Cox

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kathy Dent <
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Date:           Tuesday, 23 Nov 2004 10:34:44 +0000
Subject: 15.1996 Real Hamlet
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.1996 Real Hamlet

Bill Arnold writes:

 >And seeing as there
 >ain't much DIFFERENCE between TEXTS and none of us will OFFER AS THE
 >COMMON GROUND ONE TEXT, then why CITE texts if none of us agree to
THIS or THAT being pertinent?
 >
 >Hey, Shakespearean scholars, is THIS the Hamlet we want to portray: as
dubious a character as dubious presentations of dubious scholars and
 >dubious students of the bard?  I admit it plays into the hands of the
 >DUBIOUS interpreters.

I agree that there is no one text to be offered as common ground.
Fortunately, though, examining the three texts separately actually
eliminates some of the confusions about Hamlet that have been introduced
over the years by editors who have conflated the texts and offered us an
illusion: that there IS one text.  There is no one text of Hamlet, so
let's not pretend that there is.  If Bill finds that this makes the
whole thing dubious, I can't agree.  What's dubious is the notion that
we 'want to portray' Hamlet.  Actors do this, but scholars don't.
Obviously, any production of Hamlet will involve making choices from the
three texts available.  But readers don't have to make these choices: we
can have all three texts and be all the richer for it.  (But if Bill
still insists on the common ground of one text, my preference is for the
First Folio.  Perhaps listmembers should open all future postings about
Hamlet by stating their preference and then arguing from there.)

PS I believe the new Arden Hamlet gives us all three texts in two
volumes, so that will - I hope - make future perceptions of Hamlet
clearer than those of the past.

Kathy Dent

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