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Farmers still count for a lot in France, despite their shrinking numbers. Scarcely four per cent of the workforce now earns a living in agriculture. Yet, every politician knows that the country has a huge stake in farming— France is second only to the United States as an agricultural exporter—and that farmer unions wield clout. Farmers have cultural leverage as well. Rolling fields and rural hamlets still figure prominently in most people’s mental image of what makes France French and its social fabric whole.

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Building a House in Nepal

Auspiciousness as a Practice of Emplacement

John Gray

The subject of auspiciousness and inauspiciousness in South Asian society has largely been analyzed as a temporal condition in which there is a harmonious or inharmonious conjunction of people and events in time. In this article, the construction of houses by high-caste people living in a hamlet in Nepal is used to argue for a reconceptualization of auspiciousness and inauspiciousness as practices of emplacement in space and time. The analysis demonstrates how the rituals associated with the various stages of construction ensure the new house's compatibility with its spatial milieu—the soil, the site, the cardinal directions, and the reigning deities, as well as the vital force of the earth. Together with the auspicious timing of each stage of construction and its associated ritual with the owner's horoscope, the result of the building process shows auspiciousness to be a harmonious conjunction of person, place, and time.

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The Reshaping of Cairo's City of the Dead

Rural Identity versus Urban Arena in Cairene Cultural Narrative and Public Discourse

Anna Tozzi Di Marco

Cairo's City of the Dead embodies the social and cultural stratification that has occurred over the course of Egyptian history. Nowadays, its syncretic culture is a mixture of urban and rural aspects - a 'rurban' culture. In an effort to escape from the poverty of their hamlets, rural migrants started to move to the capital during the last decades of Ottoman rule, ending up in the fringe zones of the city. During the second wave of migration in the twentieth century, the poorest segments illicitly occupied abandoned or rarely visited funeral courtyards. The article explores how this district has been restructured by the occupation. It analyses the meaning of the physical and cultural transformations of funerary spaces, as well as the migrants' role in the formation of the locality.

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Barbara Hodgdon

For some time now, attempts to reconstruct and re-mark the history of how interiority and the subjectivity to which that belongs emerged in Western culture have been making critical headlines. According to the proponents of this explicitly anti-humanist and anti-essentialist master narrative, that moment can be precisely located at the time of Shakespeare. Using Hamlet as his example, Francis Barker argues that bourgeois subjectivity comes into being only in the late seventeenth century; challenging idealist conceptions of literary culture and history, Jonathan Dollimore promises to deliver Shakespeare and his contemporaries from the misrepresentations of essentialist humanism. Similarly, Catherine Belsey claims that to search for characters’ ‘imaginary interiority’ is to map modernist notions of a unified, coherent humanist subject onto early modern texts. According to Margareta de Grazia, those texts do represent motives for interiority, or, as Raymond Williams has it, conditions of possibility for occupying such a personal space; but, as Peter Stallybrass maintains, the early modern subject encountered in Shakespeare’s texts is not an ‘individual’.ho Although that subject may indeed possess a ‘self’ (in the sense of being distinct from others), he does not have an ‘identity’ – a term that is also absent from Shakespeare’s texts and that does not appear, in the sense of denoting individuality, until 1638. In short, we have met the early modern subject, and he is not us.

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The Smell of Death

Theft, Disgust and Ritual Practice in Central Lombok, Indonesia

Kari G. Telle

In this essay I examine a form of stealing that people in rural Sasak communities on the island of Lombok find deeply problematic because of its intimate nature: theft of which they suspect that someone in their own hamlet or village is culpable. In the large village in central Lombok where I have carried out fieldwork, theft that is attributed to a so-called ‘neighbourhood thief’ is said to produce a foul smell (bais) that begins to ooze out from where the theft occurred, enveloping the neighbourhood in a putrid stench.1 This smell is particularly intense when the thief is not caught in the act of stealing, but manages to slip away. In connection with a theft of two heirloom daggers and several pieces of old cloth that occurred one Saturday night in June 2001 and of which a close neighbour soon emerged as a suspect, Bapen Seni, a man who lives nearby, commented in disgust: ‘Now this neighbourhood really stinks [bais gubuk]! The stench is smelled even far away, it cannot be sealed off.’

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Ophelia Is Not Dead at 47

An Interview with Nabyl Lahlou

Khalid Amine and Nabyl Lahlou

Translator : Katherine Hennessey

composed the play Ophelia Is Not Dead , whose two protagonists are called Hamlet and Macbeth. The play was originally written in French; forty years later, Lahlou translated his play into Arabic. In the past year, Ophelia Is Not Dead has also appeared in

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Park Honan

A report on my experience with Shakespeare: A Life may not be generally useful, but I shall touch on factors that are changing our view of literary biography. It helps to refer to oneself and to the matter of a biographer’s outlook and feelings, no matter how deplorable the feelings. Of course, what a biographer thinks or feels is irrelevant, in one sense.We don’t care what you may have felt, for heaven’s sake; we judge your work! That is proper as far as it goes, but outlook and preparedness count in this field and so I shall allude to those. My general view is that biography thrives when we regard it as highly sophisticated, entertaining, and moving, and able to depict as much about life as works of fiction can. This genre has a certain relation to music and painting in its possible intensity. ‘All that is not useful’, says Matisse, ‘is detrimental to the effect’; the same applies to biographical narratives. Shakespeare’s life offers a special challenge, but not for any dire lack of evidence. Much depends on what use is made of abundant facts about Tudor Stratford, for example, and so on a personal attitude. My early attitude to Shakespeare was romantic and poor. For some time I thought of him as semi-divine, or as being ‘more than a man’. If I liked ‘Prufrock’, that was for its Hamlet allusions mainly. Later at University College in London, I was taken aback when my supervisor asked me to read something besides Shakespeare before trying to write a PhD thesis on the tragedies. I wrote two plays, both staged by London groups, but reviewed harshly in student newspapers, except for a remark to the effect that ‘Honan is incapable of writing anything but duologues, rather like Shakespeare in Two Gentlemen of Verona’. Finally I wrote a thesis on Browning partly because ‘Caliban upon Setebos’ reminded me of The Tempest.

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Andrew Sanders

Shakespeare conspicuously uses the word ‘felicity’ only once, and that, perhaps ironically, is at the conclusion of his most complex tragedy. In the last scene of Hamlet , the Prince of Denmark is carefully, if hurriedly, preparing himself for

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Graham Holderness

Arabist. But I didn’t need to be. My first encounter with Arab Shakespeare was in Hammersmith in West London, very close to where I live; and it was in English. I am talking of course about Sulayman Al-Bassam’s The Al-Hamlet Summit , performed at the

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Safi Mahmoud Mahfouz

historians, Schandl observes that under János Kádár’s autocratic regime in Hungary (1956–1989), Shakespeare appropriations such as László Vámos’s Hamlet (1962) and József Ruszt’s Measure for Measure (1964) left cultural traces in popular memory that