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The possible worlds of Hamlet: Shakespeare as adaptor, adaptations of Shakespeare

  • Author / Creator
    Chopoidalo, Cindy
  • Adaptation has been an important part of the appreciation and study of Shakespeare’s plays from the beginning. As was usual for playwrights of his time, Shakespeare adapted the majority of his writings from other literary and/or historical works; and in the centuries since, other writers have used his texts as inspiration for their own. Examining adaptations of literary works in relation to their ‘original’ source texts, to their performance/printing history, to each other, and to the world(s) of authors and readers allows us to explore the relationships of textual worlds to the actual worlds in which those texts are produced and read/seen/listened to, and the intertextual relationships between the worlds of the original work and an adaptation of that work into a new text. As Shakespeare’s best-known and most written-about text, indeed one of the world’s most studied texts, Hamlet has inspired countless interpretations and adaptations by artists and writers the world over. These adaptations are worthy of study in their own right, both as transformations of Shakespeare’s original text and as distinct literary works themselves. At the same time, Hamlet is itself an adaptation, what William F. Hansen describes as “a revision of a dramatic treatment...of a retelling...of a literary treatment...of a Scandinavian legend” (67). This dissertation examines Shakespeare’s Hamlet as an adaptation of its historical and literary source texts, alongside a representative sample of texts, in English, French, and Spanish, which use Hamlet as their source texts. The theoretical basis for this study is possible/fictional-worlds theory, as outlined in Lubomír Doležel’s Heterocosmica, especially the taxonomy of adaptations presented in its closing chapter. A similar taxonomy of adaptations put forth by Douglas Lanier in Shakespeare and Modern Popular Culture is also used. The dissertation begins with an overview of possible/fictional-worlds theory and its use in the study of adaptations. It then discusses the source texts of Hamlet and the use Shakespeare made of them in his play. This is followed by a comparison of four translations in French and Spanish, as well as texts which present counterparts of the plot and/or characters of the play.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2009-11
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3C91R
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Doctoral
  • Department
    • Comparative Literature Program, Office of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Hart, Jonathan (Comparative Literature / English and Film Studies)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Grande, Troni (English, University of Regina)
    • Sywenky, Irene (Comparative Literature / Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
    • Verdicchio, Massimo (Comparative Literature / Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
    • Gay, David (English and Film Studies)
    • Kelly, Gary (English and Film Studies / Comparative Literature)