Stay, Illusion!

The Hamlet Doctrine

Stay, Illusion!

The figure of Hamlet haunts our culture like the ghost haunts Shakespeare’s melancholy Dane. Arguably, no literary work is more familiar to us. Everyone knows at least six words from Hamlet, and most people know many more. Yet the play—Shakespeare’s longest—is more than “passing strange,” and it becomes even more complex when considered closely. Reading Hamlet alongside other writers, philosophers, and psychoanalysts—Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin, Freud, Lacan, Nietzsche, Melville, and Joyce—Simon Critchley and Jamieson Webster go in search of a particularly modern drama that is as much about ourselves as it is a product of Shakespeare’s imagination. They also offer a startling interpretation of the action onstage: it is structured around “nothing”—or, in the enigmatic words of the player queen, “it nothing must.” From the illusion of theater and the spectacle of statecraft to the psychological interplay of inhibition and emotion, Hamlet discloses the modern paradox of our lives: how thought and action seem to pull against each other, the one annulling the possibility of the other. As a counterweight to Hamlet’s melancholy paralysis, Ophelia emerges as the play’s true hero. In her madness, she lives the love of which Hamlet is incapable. Avoiding the customary clichés about the timelessness of the Bard, Critchley and Webster show the timely power of Hamlet to cast light on the intractable dilemmas of human existence in a world that is rotten and out of joint.

Stay, Illusion

Stay, Illusion

Two bodies found by the banks of a flooded river. The authorities call it murder-suicide, but Marius Besshaven doesn’t agree. The man they’re blaming had too much to live for. And there’s the burned man. A man whose past--shadow and flame, abduction and torture--may hold the key to the investigation. Marius is obsessed with finding the truth--driven by the traumas of youth, the pathological need for definitive answers. His quest will plunge him into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer more isolated and sadistic than anyone ever suspected, a madman who may take from him all he holds dear and drive him into a realm of insanity from which he may never recover.

Stay, Illusion

Stay, Illusion

Presents a collection of poems which explore imagination, myth, violence, the treament of animals, and the death penalty in America.

Presence in Play

A Critique of Theories of Presence in the Theatre

Presence in Play

Presence in Play: A Critique of Theories of Presence in the Theatre is the first comprehensive survey and analysis of theatrical presence to be published. Theatre as an art form has often been associated with notions of presence. The 'live' immediacy of the actor, the unmediated unfolding of dramatic action and the 'energy' generated through an actor-audience relationship are among the ideas frequently used to explain theatrical experience – and all are underpinned by some understanding of 'presence.' Precisely what is meant by presence in the theatre is part of what Presence in Play sets out to explain. While this work is rooted in twentieth century theatre and performance since modernism, the author draws on a range of historical and theoretical material. Encompassing ideas from semiotics and phenomenology, Presence in Play puts forward a framework for thinking about presence in theatre, enriched by poststructuralist theory, forcefully arguing in favour of 'presence' as a key concept for theatre studies today.