Heiner Müller, Die Hamletmaschine

Barnett, David (2014) Heiner Müller, Die Hamletmaschine. In: Marx, Peter W (ed.) Hamlet-Handbuch: Stoff - Aneignungen - Deutungen. Metzler, Stuttgart, pp. 422-428. ISBN 9783476023520

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It is well known that Hamlet is Shakespeare’s longest play. It is somewhat remarkable that one of the most famous contemporary responses to the work by a playwright numbers no more than ten pages in the standard edition (cf. Müller 2001, 545–54). Die Hamletmaschine by Heiner Müller was written and published in 1977, and was a response to his work on a translation of Shakespeare’s play in the same year. Hamlet had been something of an obsession for Müller for reasons which were both formal and thematic. Müller was convinced that the play’s strength stemmed from its awkwardness. Here he consciously followed T.S. Eliot’s argument that Shakespeare had failed in his efforts to turn the problematic subject matter into drama. That is, the play is doing far more than its central themes might suggest; it includes so much material that the reader or spectator is overwhelmed by the multifarious avenues it explores. Müller was also inspired by the conservative thinker Carl Schmitt (→ Ch. 13 and 21) and his essay Hamlet oder Hekuba: Der Einbruch der Zeit in das Spiel (1956).

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PT Germanic literature > PT0001 German literature
Depositing User: David Barnett
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2014 08:26
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2019 16:11
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/49319
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