Dr. Sandra Young will explore How Hamlet Became Modern at the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) Great Texts / Big Questions lecture on 25 August at 17:30 in Hiddingh Hall.
The character of Hamlet looms large as the quintessential modern subject, both in popular culture and through centuries of scholarship. As a recognisable cultural icon, he rivals the standing Shakespeare himself enjoys as a symbol of Western humanism and elevated culture, rightly or wrongly. But how did Hamlet, with his intensely inward focus and conflicted self-consciousness, become a model for modern subjectivity? Hamlet was not always appreciated primarily in these terms, removed from the play’s concerns with dispossession and disinheritance. Margreta de Grazia has recently identified the shift towards interiority as an Enlightenment phenomenon, advanced through Coleridge’s explicit appreciation of Shakespeare’s drama as ‘psychological’. But Hamlet’s uncanny ability to keep ahead of ‘the times’ – his own and ours – can also be traced in his deployment by a series of critical thinkers, including Hegel, Marx, Derrida, Freud, Lacan and feminist revisionists, in the development of their ideas. How are we, then, to make sense of Hamlet in the twenty-first century? This is the question that Young will attempt to address.
Young is a Lecturer and Co-Convenor of Postgraduate Studies in the Department of English at UCT where she teaches early-modern literature and thought, post-colonial and feminist theory, and African and South African literature. Her current research explores the figure of the ‘outsider’ in Shakespeare and the role of early-modern travel writing and natural history in establishing the knowledge systems that served imperialism. She has published on Shakespearean drama, early American colonial history, women’s prison writing under apartheid and the testimonies of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, reflecting on their place within the post-apartheid archive.
The event will take place in Hiddingh Hall at 17:30 and is free. No booking is necessary, but seating is limited. Refreshments will be served from 17:00. For more information phone the GIPCA office on 021 480 7156 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.