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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: August ::
What Happens in "Hamlet"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1413  Monday, 29 August 2005

From: 		Jim Blackie <
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Date: 		Friday, 26 Aug 2005 10:30:58 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 16.1408 Comment (and Wilson)
Comment: 	RE: SHK 16.1408 Comment (and Wilson)

Kezia Vanmeter Sproat wrote:

 >But this post is really about Hamlet, and Dover Wilson, and an idea
 >someone on the list might be interested in "borrowing" and running with.
 >
 >Negatively inspired by Wilson's title & text, (What Happens in Hamlet)
 >and in a serio-jocular educative mood, many years ago I proposed to
 >write a newspaper column, "This Week in Hamlet." The idea was to share
 >with public audiences, and allow them to enjoy, the huge diversity of
 >interpretation, staged and written, re. our hero [or heroes, Hamlet and
 >author], and to enlarge awareness of some of the fine points in the
 >humanities that most of my colleagues take for granted but most of the
 >public is innocent of. [And are still innocent of.] The column would
 >also list current Hamlet and other Shakespeare productions, films, etc.,
 >anything: the central play, both a taking-off point and a "coming back
 >to" point for dialogue between literati and newspaper audience. A
 >celebration of its depth & light.

I'm the biggest Wilson fanatic, currently on a binge Wilson-thon of all 
his writings, so I guess that's me. Never "borrowing" but always 
crediting and quoting his insight that opened new understanding for me. 
As has been just voiced in an intelligent posting to this forum today, I 
paraphrase again that as long as my views are respected, anyone is free 
to refuse to accept them as their own. (Agree to disagree) -- But 
without that book, I would never have been made aware of the importance 
in the Gonzago play of the poisoner's identity as the nephew rather than 
the brother of the victim. I would never have been forced to rethink my 
interpretations of the plays in light of the thinking of the age in 
which it was performed or the frame of mind of the intended audience. 
There are many other "little" tips that are helping me as I continue on 
my journey of the re-discovery of the bard upon which I so very recently 
have embarked. If these thoughts are considered obvious or even 
erroneous to those more formally schooled in the study, as ask your 
pardon, but my opinions are my own and they work for me right now.

I have even been allowed to grow and build on my self schooling thanks 
to Mr. Cook's forum. Also thanks to the information gleaned here by 
contributions such as Steve Roth's, who most kindly shared his article 
"Who Knows Who Knows Who's There? - An Epistemology of Hamlet" with us 
and pointed out weaknesses in Wilson's Hamlet book, giving several 
carefully considered alternative explanations that I will also 
paraphrase and "run with."

I may not agree with everything I read here, but am appreciative of the 
opportunity to learn something new and to focus on things with others' eyes.

Jim Blackie

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