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Where We Know, We Cannot Act

Tom McCarthy (above) will be talking Hamlet — re-enactment, inauthenticity, and violence — with Simon Critchley and Jamieson Weber at Tate Modern on Saturday 19th October:

From the illusion of theatre and the spectacle of statecraft to the psychological theatre of inhibition and emotion, The Hamlet Doctrine explores the continued relevance of Shakespeare’s finest play for a modern world no less troubled by existential anxieties than Elizabethan London.

Philosopher Simon Critchley and psychoanalyst Jamieson Webster argue that what Hamlet makes manifest is the modern paradox of our lives: where we know, we cannot act. The Hamlet Doctrine is a thought-provoking radical re-examination of Hamlet, reading the drama alongside writers, philosophers and psychoanalysts – Schmitt, Benjamin, Freud, Lacan, Nietzsche, Melville, and Joyce – to claim Shakespeare as a modernist precursor, providing a language for articulating contradiction and transformation. With Tom McCarthy, the authors delve into Shakespeare’s finest play to explore the politics of the era, the exigencies of desire and the incapacity to love for a special event with a performance.

First posted: Monday, October 14th, 2013.

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