James Shapiro is Larry Miller Professor of English at Columbia and Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at the Public Theater. His most recent book is The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606.
 (April 2018)


The Question of Hamlet

Jean-Louis Trintignant in the role of Hamlet, at the Théâtre de la Musique, Paris, 1971

Hamlet and the Vision of Darkness

by Rhodri Lewis
It’s a truism that no one accepts anyone else’s reading of Hamlet. And for at least two hundred years, no generation has been comfortable with its predecessor’s take on the play. It’s hard to think of another work whose interpretations so uncannily identify what the play calls the “form and pressure” of “the time.” Critics and actors usually register cultural shifts a bit belatedly; but on occasion the most astute seem to anticipate them.