The Hamlet Doctrine

From the illusion of theatre and the spectacle of statecraft to the psychological theatre of inhibition and emotion, The Hamlet Doctrine explores the continued relevance of Shakespeare’s finest play for a modern world no less troubled by existential anxieties than Elizabethan London.

Philosopher Simon Critchley and psychoanalyst Jamieson Webster argue that what Hamlet makes manifest is the modern paradox of our lives: where we know, we cannot act. The Hamlet Doctrine is a thought-provoking radical re-examination of Hamlet, reading the drama alongside writers, philosophers and psychoanalysts – Schmitt, Benjamin, Freud, Lacan, Nietzsche, Melville, and Joyce – to claim Shakespeare as a modernist precursor, providing a language for articulating contradiction and transformation.

With Tom McCarthy, the authors delve into Shakespeare’s finest play to explore the politics of the era, the exigencies of desire and the incapacity to love for a special event with a performance.

Jamieson Webster

is a psychoanalyst in New York City. She teaches at Eugene Lang College and supervises graduate students at the City University of New York. She is the author of The Life and Death of Psychoanalysis (Karnac, 2011), as well as having written for Apology, The Aesthete, Cabinet, The New York Times, Playboy, and many psychoanalytic publications. 

Simon Critchley

is Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research. He also teaches at the European Graduate School. His many books include Very Little…Almost Nothing, Infinitely Demanding, The Book of Dead Philosophers, The Faith of the Faithless, and, with Tom McCarthy, The Mattering of Matter. Documents from the Archive of the International Necronautical Society. A new work on Hamlet called Stay, Illusion! was published in 2013 by Pantheon Books in the US and Verso in the UK, co-authored with Jamieson Webster. He is series moderator of The Stone, a philosophy column in The New York Times, to which he is a frequent contributor.

Tom McCarthy

is a writer and artist whose work has been translated into more than twenty languages. His first novel, Remainder, which deals with questions of trauma and repetition, is currently being adapted for cinema. His third, C, which explores the relationship between melancholia and technological media, was a finalist in the 2010 Booker Prize. In addition, he is founder and General Secretary of the International Necronautical Society (INS), a semi-fictitious avant-garde network of writers, philosophers and artists whose work has been exhibited internationally at venues including the Palais de Tokyo Paris, Tate Britain and Moderna Museet Stockholm. In 2013 he was awarded the inaugural Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction by Yale University.

The event is organised in partnership with Verso