The German hamlet
ghostly encounters in the space of the stage and the novel
Hamlet's special significance for German literature is due both to many German authors' great admiration for David Garrick's innovative stage practice and also the deployment of (theatrical) space in the tragedy itself. The central element here is the apparition of the ghost in a theatrical mode where the netherworld extends its powers into worldly affairs, introducing an ontological uncertainty enhanced by theatrical dissimulation. Alexander Honold argues that while Goethe, in his novel Wilhelm Meister, can be accused of promoting the "brooding German Hamlet" stereotype, he also offers a subtle exploration of Hamlet's theatricality, tracing Wilhelm Meister's trajectory from a stage-struck enthusiast to a much more mature encounter with his own ghosts, which has a lasting life in the space of the novel.
Honold, A. (2016)., The German hamlet: ghostly encounters in the space of the stage and the novel, in I. Habermann & M. Witen (eds.), Shakespeare and space, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 163-189.
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