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From Elsinore to Berlin | Early Modern and Open Access

By May 17, 2015 No Comments

This is part of a weekly series here at TSS: Early Modern and Open Access regularly showcases peer-reviewed articles (or other resources) of interest to early modernists that are freely available in open access formats.

Citation and Link:

Andreas Höfele, “Elsinore – Berlin: Hamlet in the Twenties,” Actes des congrès de la Société française Shakespeare 33 (2015)


In a famous essay of 1919 Paul Valéry has Hamlet survey the devastated Europe in the aftermath of the First World War. He invokes the familiar image of Hamlet to look at a world that has become radically unfamiliar. The two Berlin Hamlets examined in in this paper took a different approach. Asta Nielsen’s Hamlet film (1920-1921), directed by Svend Gade and Heinz Schall, and Leopold Jessner’s 1926 stage production defamiliarized Hamlet in order to immerse him in the currents of accelerating modernity, changing him so that he could participate in changing the world. Valéry’s Hamlet, the paper argues, is a prophet of loss; theirs a bearer of promise; albeit a promise tragically thwarted in the political turbulences of the short-lived Weimar Republic.


Author Lindsay

Lindsay Ann Reid is a regular contributor to The Scrivener and Early Modern and Open Access. She holds a PhD from the University of Toronto and is a Lecturer in English at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

More posts by Lindsay

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