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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: July ::
Hamlet without Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0388  Friday, 17 July 2009

[1] From:   Joseph Egert <
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 >
     Date:   Thursday, 16 Jul 2009 16:31:12 -0700 (PDT)
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0382 Hamlet without Hamlet

[2] From:   Arnie Perlstein <
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 >
     Date:   Friday, 17 Jul 2009 10:04:15 -0400 (EDT)
     Subj:   Hamlet without Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Joseph Egert <
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 >
Date:       Thursday, 16 Jul 2009 16:31:12 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 20.0382 Hamlet without Hamlet
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0382 Hamlet without Hamlet

Hannibal Hamlin writes:

"I certainly wouldn't argue that scholarly arguments aren't sometimes 
far-fetched, but the point about "adamah" may not be. Of course, 
Shakespeare had even less Hebrew than Greek, but he could easily have 
known a few key words from easily accessible biblical commentaries, some 
of which I'm certain he read. I'd have to hunt around more to make a 
specific case for "adamah," but Raleigh explains the Hebrew pun on 
"Adam" and "adamah" in his History of the World, and he was no Hebrew 
scholar either."

A quick EEBO search for "adamah" yields 70 hits in 45 records, among 
them the Ralegh citation above, and from Baxter's SIDNEY'S OURANIA 
(1606), "Pan blessed her [Eve], and call'd her Adamah,/ A female earth, 
and after Nekebah."

Joe Egert

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Arnie Perlstein <
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 >
Date:       Friday, 17 Jul 2009 10:04:15 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:    Hamlet without Hamlet

 >In her always enlightening and often entertaining book, Margreta de
 >Grazia summarizes and assesses the modern critical tradition, beginning
 >two centuries after Shakespeare's old-fashioned play first took the
 >stage and still very much with us. She makes a sweeping claim, and she
 >strongly supports it in a series of interlinked essays. Her contention
 >is that the Hamlet created by modern philosophers and critics,
 >psychologically disturbed, phallically deprived, Oedipally repressed,
 >exemplar of modern subjectivity, type and symbol of modern
 >consciousness, draws attention away from Shakespeare's great and complex
 >historical tragedy. For Hamlet to appear modern, she argues, the premise
 >of _Hamlet_ must drop out of sight.

What a pity that in making what i am sure is a good argument for her way 
of interpreting the play, de Grazia feels it is necessary to invalidate 
an approach to interpreting Hamlet as a psychologically disturbed 
genius. Hamlet is an anamorphic play, and it probably admits of numerous 
plausible, coherent and alternative interpretations. I find it 
fascinating how often those who favor one of them include in their 
argument the dissing of the others.

Arnie Perlstein
Weston, Florida

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