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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: September ::
What Happens in "Hamlet"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1588  Thursday, 22 September 2005

From: 		Arnie Perlstein <
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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 
Wilson.

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 
interpretative options.

Arnie Perlstein,

Weston (in South Florida, fortunate to have ducked yet another major 
hurricane)

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