The banal, biscuit-box Shakespeare needs to be broken up and his work made dangerous again. If the authorities really understood what was going on in Hamlet's head, students might never be allowed to study the text. Hamlet's world is a globe defined by the omnipresence of espionage, of which his self-surveillance is but a mirror. Hamlet is arguably the drama of a police state, rather like the Elizabethan police state of England in the late 16th century, or the multitude of surveillance cameras that track citizens as they cross London in the current, late-Elizabethan age. Hamlet's agonised paranoia is but a foretaste of our own.
Rather than look at Hamlet in the usual humanistic and moralistic manner—Hamlet is a nice guy who suffers from being given a task that is an overwhelmingly unbearable burden - we approach the play in a spirit of what Virginia Woolf calls rashness, illness, and irreverence. We look at the play through the lenses provided by a singular series of outsider interpretations that happen to mirror our mutual occupations and preoccupations—philosophy and psychoanalysis - and which shed some light on the question of Shakespeare and Englishness: Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin, Hegel, Freud, Lacan, Nietzsche, Melville and Heiner Müller. We’d like to give a little taste of each of these interpretations.
Visit the Guardian to read the article in full.
At the beginning of the year we published another twelve titles in our seventh edition of The Radical Thinkers series including works by Alain Badiou, Willhelm Reich, Max Horkheimer, Simon Critchley and Ludwig Feuerbach. A fortnightly series of events introducing this latest set was held at the ICA in London, with the help of Peter Hallward, Stella Sandford, Esther Leslie, Federico Campagna and Nina Power. Through passionate discussions which took theory to a public forum outside of the academy, the events aimed to make clear why these writers should be read today. Verso believe that the writers in this series are just as accessible as most of those who are presented to us as 'public intellectuals' or 'popular philosophers' - yet they are far more pertinent and thought provoking.
Fortnightly from the 9th of April, 2013, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London, five engaging speakers will be introducing the thought of Ludwig Feuerbach, Simon Critchley, Max Horkheimer, Alain Badiou and Wilhelm Reich. These events will span themes from sexuality to economics, idealism to ethics, covered in the author’s books in the new set of Radical Thinkers.
Set 7, released this month, is the latest addition to the series. These beautifully designed books have been described by Owen Hatherley as “a compendium of left-wing philosophical and political thought.”
The following provides a brief introduction to the thinkers and offers some related preparatory materials.
Do you have the urge to attain higher education, but don’t want to borrow exorbitant sums of money and cripple your financial future to do it? Well, you’re in luck because it’s Free University Week! As part of Occupy Wall Street’s birthday week, from September 18th to the 21st the Free University is facilitating more than 140 classes and workshops in Madison Square Park on topics like the global financial crisis, activism, social justice, and climate change.
A few past and present Verso authors will be teaching classes as part of this initiative—details are below, or visit here for a complete schedule.