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! Victorian Hamlet

“A hundred ducats apiece for his picture in little...” The Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive is a wondrous free resource compiled and curated by Dr Michael Goodman of Cardiff University. So we asked him to select some of his favourite examples of Hamlet-related artwork from the archive.

1. Kenny Meadows, Hamlet Dramatis Personae

This is a clever example of the illustrator Kenny Meadows commenting upon the theatricality of the page and, indeed, the illustrated edition itself. By alluding to the device traditionally used in the theatre to signify the start of a play – the lifting of the curtain – Meadows draws (quite literally) our attention to the differences between stage and page and wittily challenges us to reconcile the two. But there is something more going on here. Hamlet is a play which is all about looking – things seen and unseen, the observer becoming the observed, and the dangers that lie with misunderstanding what our eyes are telling us. By opening his illustrated imagining of the play in this way, Meadows is also implicating us, the readers, within the play’s narrative. The illustration is an effective instance of word and image combining to create a larger and more richer meaning than they could in and by themselves.

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Profile for Shakespeare Magazine

Shakespeare Magazine Issue 14  

Hamlet is the theme of Shakespeare Magazine Issue 14, with each and every article devoted to the fictional Prince of Denmark and the play th...

Shakespeare Magazine Issue 14  

Hamlet is the theme of Shakespeare Magazine Issue 14, with each and every article devoted to the fictional Prince of Denmark and the play th...