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[Xmca-l] Re: The history of science fiction and imagined worlds


Well, the thought was provoked by reading Hamlet in the context of all
the Revenge tragedies showing at rival houses at the time. It struck
me that they were really MUCH more like the blockbusters of our own
time: an unrighted wrong, a lone avenger, a splatter-fest in which the
hero and everybody else dies, and a strong element of either the
highly improbable or the downright supernatural.

That sounds like Hamlet, but it isn't. Sure, there's a ghost--that was
the playbook, you know. And there's a splatter-fest too. But as
Vygotsky points out, NOTHING HAPPENS in between--for nigh on four long
hours. Just feellings, thinkings, talkings...no doings. At the end,
the ghost is AWOL, there is NO gloating or even a sense of justice
done at the end. And...this is the part we all miss in our righteous
relief at the king's death...Laertes and Hamlet forgive each other
before they die.

Now, here's the problem. Forgiveness survived, and the "Ur-Hamlet"
Revenge Plays didn't. Why? It seems to me that Hamlet survived because
the NEXT big battle of ideas was that between the broadly humanist,
empirical, notions of forgiveness and understanding that Hamlet
espouses and the inexorable rationalism of Protestant ideas of
justice, and at crucial moments (e.g. the Scottish Enlightenment, the
English Restoration, the Romantic reaction to the French Revolution,
and German idealism) it was the humanist view of Shakespeare that
trumped rationalism. But in our own time, it's the other way around.

No wonder the play drove Tolstoy crazy.

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

On 24 September 2014 23:41, John Cummins <deva_research@lineone.net> wrote:
> I thought David Kellogg's comment below very thought-provoking:
> ''In less obvious ways, it seems to me, these imaginary worlds are
> interested in a clash that we no longer take very seriously. It's the
> clash between a form of knowledge which is broadly humanist, because
> empirical, and one which is narrowly rationalist, because puritanical.''