English 9195

Mediating Hamlet

Instructor: Professor M.J. Kidnie.
Summer 2021 Full Year Course Equivalent.

This full course has three primary learning objectives. First, it will introduce students to the theatrical and printing-house practices by means of which Shakespeare's drama achieved publication. Hamlet is a particularly knotty problem as it survives in three quite distinct early textual versions. Theories of authorial (and possibly theatrical) revision will be explored in light of evidence provided by the three textual witnesses and ongoing critical interpretation. Secondly, students will gauge how recent print and online editors have chosen to mediate these early texts for modern reading audiences. The third objective of this course is to target the play's transfer to stage and film in terms of adaptation studies and performance theory as these fields bear specifically on early modern drama. We will address issues of interpretation and reception throughout the course, and consider whether – and how – to draw distinctions between a work we might want to call Hamlet and adaptations of it.