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(2016) Shakespeare and consciousness, Dordrecht, Springer.

Hamlet in the bat cave

Paul Budra

pp. 79-96

Budra assesses the ontological dilemma raised by the attribution of consciousness to literary characters using Hamlet as a test case. Hamlet, as a literary character, has no consciousness, yet for hundreds of years critics have imagined and written about this nonexistent quality. Budra demonstrates that the language which defines Hamlet's consciousness is not only the text of Hamlet but the supplementary textual, historical, or theoretical contexts that are brought to bear on it. Hamlet has become the nexus for consciousness studies because Hamlet does display a self-consciousness of the type that was discussed in early modern England. What is not clear is whether this self-consciousness is synonymous with self-aware consciousness, that defining step in the evolution toward modern subjectivity, or is an ahistorical attribution.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-59541-6_4

Full citation:

Budra, P. (2016)., Hamlet in the bat cave, in P. Budra & C. Werier (eds.), Shakespeare and consciousness, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 79-96.

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