In Shakespeare, Adaptation, Psychoanalysis, Matthew Biberman analyzes early adaptations of Shakespeareâ€™s plays in order to identify and illustrate how both social mores and basic human psychology have changed in Anglo-American culture. Biberman contests the received wisdom that Shakespeareâ€™s characters reflect essentially timeless truths about human nature. To the contrary, he points out that Shakespeareâ€™s characters sometimes act and think in ways that have become either stigmatized or simply outmoded. Through his study of the adaptations, Biberman pinpoints aspects of Shakespeareâ€™s thinking about behavior and psychology that no longer ring true because circumstances have changed so dramatically between his time and the time of the adaptation. He shows how the adaptorsâ€™ changes reveal key differences between Shakespeareâ€™s culture and the culture that then supplanted it. These changes, once grasped, reveal retroactively some of the ways in which Shakespeareâ€™s characters do not act and think as we might expect them to act and think. Thus Biberman counters Harold Bloomâ€™s claim that Shakespeare fundamentally invents our sense of the human; rather, he argues, our sense of the human is equally bound up in the many ways that modern culture has come to resist or outright reject the behavior we see in Shakespeareâ€™s plays. Ultimately, our current sense of 'the human' is bound up not with the adoption of Shakespeareâ€™s psychology, perhaps, but its adaption-or, in psychoanalytic terms, its repression and replacement.
Table of Contents
Note on Sources
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Beyond Bad Style, or the Curious Case of Adaptation
Chapter One: On Primary Adaptation: The Case of Nahum Tateâ€™s "King Lear"
Chapter Two: Instances of Secondary Adaptation: Otway, Davenant and the Birth of the Cross-Over Episode
Chapter Three: Synchronous Adaptation: Hamlet, Macbeth, and the Double Falsehood
Chapter Four: Love and Adaptation: Antony and Cleopatra, Drydenâ€™s All for Love, and Coriolanus
Chapter Five: Comedy, Tragedy, and Adaptation: The Tempest, The Enchanted Island, and Hamlet
Conclusion: Bad Style II, or Notes toward a Theory of Adaptation
Matthew Biberman is Professor of English at the University of Louisville, USA. He is also the author of Masculinity, Anti-Semitism and Early Modern English Literature (Ashgate, 2004) and the memoir Big Sid's Vincati (2009).