In the bestselling Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, Harold Bloom showed us how Shakespeare shaped human consciousness, and addressed the question of authorship in Hamlet. In Hamlet: Poem Unlimited, America's most celebrated critic turns his attention to a reading of the play itself and to Shakespeare's most enigmatic and memorable ...
In the bestselling Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, Harold Bloom showed us how Shakespeare shaped human consciousness, and addressed the question of authorship in Hamlet. In Hamlet: Poem Unlimited, America's most celebrated critic turns his attention to a reading of the play itself and to Shakespeare's most enigmatic and memorable character. This is Bloom's attempt to uncover the mystery of both Prince Hamlet and the play, how both prince and drama are able to break through the conventions of theatrical mimesis and the representation of character, making us question the very nature of theatrical illusion. Hamlet: Poem Unlimited is a hugely insightful and yet highly accessible exploration of Shakespeare's crowning achievement by a critic who is seen by many as his greatest living champion.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-03-03 The Prince of Denmark, argues the eminent Bloom, was not much loved by his father the warrior king or by his mother, Queen Gertrude. Developing themes from his Shakespeare: Invention of the Human, Bloom adds that Hamlet was instead rather detached, moving through life rather like the lead in his own personal drama, giving a theatrical flair to moments such as the death of Polonius and aptly choosing a play to "catch the conscience of the king." The closest thing he ever had to a parent was Yorick the Jester, and his confrontation with Yorick's skull followed shortly by his attending Ophelia's funeral dealt a serious double blow to his indifference. It was then that he moves grimly toward the climax and his own death. Bloom generates any number of provocative themes, such as Hamlet's notions about plays and acting as reflecting Shakespeare's own rivalries with Ben Jonson, and that the prince never loved Ophelia. Some of the chapters are really too short to do justice to their topics, raising more questions than answers. Nor is the last third of the book, on the play's place in our cultural heritage, up to the parts that focus on its contents, though it features fewer off-putting attacks on political correctness than Bloom's more polemical works. Still, this is not a tyro's book; Bloom makes no concessions to readers who lack a deep familiarity with the play. Nor is it for any reader with a thin skin about Bloom's assumptions about the Anglo-European literary legacy. Short, sophisticated and opinionated, this is a thorny goodie for Bardolators and Bloomians. (Mar.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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