Shakespeare: "/>

HAMLET: Poem Unlimited

Harold Bloom, Author . Putnam/Riverhead $19.95 (176p) ISBN 978-1-57322-233-4

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.)

Reviewed on: 03/03/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
Show other formats
Library Binding - 210 pages - 978-0-7910-0919-2
Library Binding - 80 pages - 978-0-7910-3654-9
Paperback - 180 pages - 978-0-7910-7981-2
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-70829-6
Hardcover - 443 pages - 978-0-7910-9592-8
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-4381-1250-3
Hardcover - 221 pages - 978-0-585-25381-7
Hardcover - 82 pages - 978-0-585-24468-6
Open Ebook - 443 pages - 978-1-282-79056-8
Hardcover - 176 pages - 978-1-84195-461-5
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.