Marjorie Brierley, who edited this work, explains in an introductory note one thesis of Ella Sharpe's Shakesperian studies: that the plays represent a cyclic movement with rhythmic phases of alternating tragedy and comedy. Left incomplete by Sharpe at her death, this study of Hamlet is faithfully edited and makes some significant contributions to the theory of creative art, sublimation, and manic-depression.
Sharpe first shows that Hamlet reveals an organic, emotional, and mental unity. The dramatic structure of the play has a basic fidelity to body functions which is accompanied by fidelity to emotional experiences. The mental content expressed in the thoughts of the different characters is consistent with the experiences of the poet. The organic and functional basis of Hamlet is revealed in Hamlet's procrastination. The infantile situation of the poet-to-be is congruent with the later use of this device in building tension in the drama. Details of Shakespeare's life which fit with this thesis are given. The content of many lines is analyzed to show the relation between body function and the metaphor implied in 'procrastination'. Jones's essay, The Madonna's Conception Through the Ear, finds confirmation in the Hamlet theme.
Masterfully interwoven are new researches on the complexstructure of the Ghost, the role of the Christos motif, Hamlet's masculine counterpart in Fortinbras and feminine counterpart in Ophelia, and known details of Hamlet's life and times. A paragraph pointing out that the graveyard scene and the allusions to 'poor Yorick' refer to memories of Shakespeare's father is particularly cogent.
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Sharpe's ideas about creative art and sublimation merit special study. For example, she writes: 'My impression is that the surge of thwarted genital impulse and desire at the Oedipal climax re-animates pregenital drives and imparts to them something of the creativity which is the specific attribute of genitality'. However, no abstract or quotation can do justice to the wealth of ideas in this paper which must be read in its entirety.
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Reider, N. (1950). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXIX, 1948. Psychoanal. Q., 19:606-607