A Tale of Three <i>Hamlets</i> or, Repetition and Revenge

Marjorie Garber

in Loaded Words

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242047
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823242085 | DOI:
A Tale of Three Hamlets or, Repetition and Revenge

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This chapter tells three parallel stories about William Shakespeare's Hamlet, each of which could fit under the general rubric of “Hamlet, Repetition, and Revenge.” It begins with Edward Gordon Craig and his complicated relation to the play, then moves on to a story about the scholar John Dover Wilson (the textual editor of the Cranach Hamlet), and finally to another story involving a literary scholar, J. I. M. Stewart, who, moonlighting as detective novelist “Michael Innes,” was the author of a mystery called Hamlet, Revenge! Each of these inset narratives turns on a book: a book that incarnates the idea of Hamlet—the play—as repetition and revenge. The chapter argues that there are times when revenge takes the form of homage, and homage takes the form of revenge. It also suggests that there is something about Hamlet—the Hamlet effect—that not only generates this cycle, but also, ultimately, casts the play itself in the position of the revenger.

Keywords: Hamlet; revenge; repetition; homage; Hamlet effect; Edward Gordon Craig; John Dover Wilson; J. I. M. Stewart; William Shakespeare

Chapter.  10311 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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