Completing Hamlet
in Spectacular Performances
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Hamlet is probably the most famous play in literature, thoroughly international in its appeal, admired and imitated in Asian cultures as well as in the west. Reservations about Hamlet impugn William Shakespeare's knowledge of himself, and Coleridge the advocate speaks with the authority of Shakespeare. In 1769 Jean-François Ducis produced a French Hamlet, the first theatrical version of a Shakespeare play in France. Count Harry Kessler's Cranach Press Hamlet was published in a German edition in 1929 and in an English edition in 1930. Both Voltaire and Johnson intentionally trivialized Hamlet by reducing it to its plot, but there are more ways than one of approaching the plot, some less reductive than others. The real problem, since it is a Shakespeare tragedy we are dealing with, is that no version of the action seems sufficiently heroic to fulfil our expectations of the genre.

Spectacular Performances

Essays on theatre, imagery, books and selves in early modern England>

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