The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1588 Thursday, 22 September 2005
From: Arnie Perlstein <
Date: Wednesday, 21 Sep 2005 11:49:15 -0400
Subject: What Happens in "Hamlet"
"Jim Blackie wrote: If Terence Hawkes would be good enough to elucidate
on the meaning of his own comments concerning "What Happens in Hamlet,"
I'd be most appreciative. As the message above stands, it seems indicate
that Wilson is trying to get at "something" without explaining what that
something might be. Well, to my poor senses, anyway. Most especially the
curious statement "[b]ut it's as well to get a grip on what he's being
persuasive about." This has me puzzled."
I am coming a bit late to this thread, but hopefully, only three weeks
later, it is not yet dead, but (like Hermione in The Winter's Tale)
merely moving too slowly for us to detect signs of life. ;)
On Jim B.'s recommendation, I have read about half of Wilson's book on
Hamlet, and am as impressed as Jim is by what I see. As soon as I finish
his book, I will be reading the play itself very closely, to see what I
think. In the interim, I am as curious as Jim to hear more from Terence
Hawkes explaining what he means by his somewhat cryptic comments about
What I like most about Wilson is that he spends most of his time talking
about very specific down to earth details about these characters and
their motivations, basing them, it seems to me, on only a handful of
extrinsic assumptions. And he, like Bertrand Evans, seems to always be
on the lookout for some point in the text where the relative knowledge
of the various characters (and of the audience) is out of balance, i.e.,
where one character knows "x" but another character does not, and how
that affects their interaction, in particular how one character exploits
that "knowledge advantage".
With such specific readings, they either "fit" with the text, or they
don't. I am really looking forward to testing what Wilson says against
the text itself, but would like to hear as wide a range of comments
first, so that I will be as open as I can be to the various
Weston (in South Florida, fortunate to have ducked yet another major
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