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:
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.