It won’t be the last word on the play, but Critchley and Webster provide plenty of food for thought and fuel for obsession.



A philosophy professor and a psychoanalyst—also husband and wife—take Hamlet well beyond the confines of literary criticism and Shakespearean scholarship.

It’s likely that no more needs to be written about Hamlet, but Critchley (Philosophy/New School for Social Research; The Book of Dead Philosophers, 2008, etc.) and Webster (The Life and Death of Psychoanalysis, 2011) float the trial balloon that “arguably, Ophelia is not just the main casualty in Hamlet but its true tragic hero.” As “outsiders to the world of Shakespeare criticism,” they detail how their Hamlet obsession has generated “a goodly share of our connubial back and forth over the last couple of years.” They focus their analysis on the analyses of other critical outsiders who were also obsessed with Hamlet—Freud, Hegel and Nietzsche among them, along with Nazi apologist Carl Schmitt. In a tone that is companionable and conversational despite the authors’ obvious erudition, the book examines Hamlet through a variety of lenses—philosophical, psychological, political, Christian redemptive—without resolving the tension between thought and action that remains the essence of the work and generates so much fascination with it. “Hamlet is not a nice guy,” write the authors, particularly to his father’s murderer and successor, for whom the brooding prince is “a potentially malevolent force who should be feared, which—reflexively—is why he lives in fear.” Yet if “Hamlet is a political tragedy in the most intense sense,” then “the Danish prince is very much present at the birth of psychoanalysis.” And its influence extends through “Joyce’s astonishing trumping of all Shakespeare criticism in Ulysses,” which is “a rumination on Hamlet from beginning to end.”

It won’t be the last word on the play, but Critchley and Webster provide plenty of food for thought and fuel for obsession.

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-90761-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: April 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2013

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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