The author explores the fascination Shakespeare exerted on the German right, though this learned and riveting monograph begins with a reference to Ferdinand Freiligrath’s famous poem equating Germany with Hamlet (hence the title) and though it also contains an epilogue on a production of Heiner Müller’s Hamletmaschine at the Berliner Ensemble, done by the dramatist himself, on the eve of the German reunification. No Hamlets traces the history of the perduring cliché of the ‘pensive procrastinator’ in the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, the George Circle, the young Joseph Goebbels, and Carl Schmitt, but also locates it in the wider context of the Shakespeare-haunted culture of 19th- and 20th-century Germany.The post-Romantic Hamlet neither appealed to revolutionaries, like the young Freiligrath, nor to those disaffected German liberals, who, like the older Freiligrath, were veering towards the right and hence all too eager to praise the unification achieved by feats of military strength in 1871, at which moment Germany had definitely ceased to be Hamlet. This change of character was a good thing, (not only) the political right was tempted to think, though by no means unanimously.Thus, even when a narrow focus on a ‘rightist Shakespeare’ is maintained, there are two strands
Anglia – de Gruyter
Published: Mar 8, 2018
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