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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: June ::
Eight Hamlets
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1042  Friday, 3 June 2005

From:           David Bishop <
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Date:           Friday, 3 Jun 2005 02:27:29 -0400
Subject:        Eight Hamlets

I'm planning a book tentatively called Eight Hamlets. It will analyze
and compare eight of the most prominent readings of the play. By
prominent I mean a combination of public fame (as far as one can speak
of fame here) and professional influence. The critic should have a book
or essay on Hamlet that considers the whole play, and which might be
found on the shelves of a good bookstore. Frank Kermode's chapter in
Shakespeare's Language, for example, might fit, except its focus is a
little narrow. I'm also excluding editors' introductions. Though I'm
interested in which critics are the best, my primary question here is
which critics do most people today think are the best. Prominence, of
course, does not necessarily reflect quality. Here is my first draft of
the eight.

1. Harold Bloom
2. Stephen Greenblatt
3. Marjorie Garber
4. Northrop Frye
5. A.C. Bradley
6. Freud's legacy: Stanley Cavell and Janet Adelman
7. Jan Kott
8. Harold Goddard

My impression is that Eliot now falls below this group in influence
among the Shakespeare reading public. Maybe I'm wrong. I'd appreciate
any thoughts.

Best wishes,
David Bishop

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