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Hamlet and his (Public) Problems

Hamlet and his (Public) Problems

by Micah Towery on May 28, 2010

CBC has an excellent radio show called Ideas, which is surprisingly high brow stuff. In particular, Ideas has been running a series based on McGill University’s Making Publics Project. CBC’s series of the same title has been tracing for listeners the origin of the modern public. It’s worth listening to from the beginning, but if you’re short on time, the last three episodes on Dutch painting, Elizabethan/Jacobean theater, and the formation of public through theater have all been especially worthwhile.

The last in particular is worth a listen if you’ve followed some of my blog posts on Allen Grossman’s The Sighted Singer. Grossman uses J.S. Mill’s idea that the speaker in lyric poetry is “overheard.” He is alone in his own mind, his own reverie, yet the lyric poet allows himself to be overheard by the audience, his readers.┬áCompare this with the discussion in the Making Publics podcast about Hamlet’s famous soliloquy which begins “Now I am alone…” . In this, too, Hamlet self-consciously reveals his inner thoughts to an audience he does/n’t know is there. Perhaps this soliloquy is a proto-modern lyric?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Veronica June 17, 2010 at 10:35 pm

I love Ideas! Been listening for 5 years or so now, on and off, but fell off the wagon recently (cheating on it with In Our Time by BBC and Speaking of Faith by NPR). You’ve got me thinking of tuning back in.

Micah Towery June 18, 2010 at 12:42 am

yeah, this ideas series is the bomb. you should definitely tune.

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