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Soni, N. (2015). A review of Stay Illusion! The Hamlet Doctrine: by Jamieson Webster. New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 2013. 269 pp.. Contemp. Psychoanal., 51(3):557-561.

(2015). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 51(3):557-561

Book Reviews

A review of Stay Illusion! The Hamlet Doctrine: by Jamieson Webster. New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 2013. 269 pp.

Review by:
Nirav Soni, Ph.D.

In his initial lecture on Greek tragedy given at the New School for Social Research in 2011, Simon Critchley quotes Bernard Williams (1993) as saying “To make the ancients speak, we must feed them with our own blood. When the ancients speak, they do not merely tell us about themselves. They tell us about us” (pp. 19‒20). In Stay Illusion! The Hamlet Doctrine, husband Critchley and wife Jamieson Webster implicitly ask of Shakespeare what Williams asked of the Greek tragedians: What might Hamlet tell us about us? In turning to Hamlet, what might we see reflected of our sensibilities? Given that their account leans heavily on psychoanalytic understandings of Hamlet, what might Hamlet tell psychoanalysts about themselves?

Critchley and Webster, a philosopher and an analyst respectively, are well-regarded teachers of continental philosophy and psychoanalysis. In their book, which they describe as “the late-flowering fruit of a shared obsession” (p.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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