Hamlet's Dreams brings together the Robben Island Prison of Nelson Mandela and the prison that is Denmark for Shakespeare's Hamlet. David Shalkwyk uses the circulation of the so-called 'Robben Island Shakespeare', a copy of the Alexander edition of the Complete Works that was secretly circulated, annotated and signed by a group of Robben Island political prisoner in the 1970s (including Nelson Mandela), to examine the representation and experience of imprisonment in South African prison memoirs and Shakespeare's Hamlet. It looks at the ways in which oppressive spaces or circumstances restrict the ways in which personal identity can be formed or formulated in relation to others. The 'bad dreams' that keep Hamlet from considering himself the 'king of infinite space' are, it argues, the need for other people that becomes especially evident in situations of real or psychological imprisonment.
About the Author
David Schalkwyk is Director of Research at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C. and Professor of English at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He is editor of Shakespeare Quarterly and his books include Speech and Performance in Shakespeare's Sonnets and Plays (Cambridge, 2002), Literature and the Touch of the Real (University of Delaware Press, 2004), Shakespeare, Love and Service (Cambridge, 2008).
Table of Contents
Robben Island and its representation by prisoners \ The 'Robben Island Shakespeare' \ The role of the 'I' and its relation to imprisonment in Robben Island prison literature and Hamlet's Denmark