Hamlet: Origin Displaced
Keywords:Hamlet, origin, hermeneutics, displacement, textual history, authorship
This article focuses upon the category of ‘origin’ from a theoretical viewpoint, which, besides
including philological/textual aspects, inevitably opens up the issue of interpretation, not limited
to ‘capturing’ an authorial, foundational meaning. In the wake of Continental philosophical
thought and in particular Derrida and Lacan, I argue that origin can never be recovered in conventional
terms, but is rather displaced in space and time, in the materiality of subsequent edited
texts: much in the same way as, for Freud, telling a dream is already an experience of displacement,
in which what remains of the dream are significant traces. A case in point are the
multiple versions of Hamlet, approached as a palimpsest to illustrate my argument, dealing in
particular with important editorial choices in classic editions of the past two decades.
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