AbstractThis essay proposes to discuss what I shall call the pose of Hamlet with the skull of Yorick as a motif of special significance in poetry and art. My sense of “motif” here is similar to what George Steiner has called a “topology of culture.” Drawing metaphorically on “the branch of mathematics which deals with those relations between points and those fundamental properties of a figure which re- main invariant when that figure is bent out of shape,” Steiner argues that there are also such “invariants and constants underlying the manifold shapes of expression in our culture.” This notion of cultural topologies grows out of Steiner’s sense that culture is to a large degree “the translation and rewording of previous mean- ing”(415). The motif of the pose of Hamlet involves in its different manifestations all three of Roman Jakobson’s categories of translation: intralingual, interlingual, and especially intersemiotic.
SubjectsVanitas (Art), Symbolism, Translation, Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Hamlet, Dekker, Thomas, approximately 1572-1632, Cavarozzi, Bartolomeo, approximately 1590-1625, Ribera, Jusepe de, 1591-1652, La Tour, Georges du Mesnil de, 1593-1652, Titian, approximately 1488-1576, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, 1606-1669, Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973, Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965, Seferis, George, 1900-1971, Strauss, Richard, 1864-1949, Hofmannsthal, Hugo von, 1874-1929
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