Saturday, 14 March 2015

Notice: lecture on Hamlet and King Lear

The Department of English,
Jamia Millia Islamia
the Department of English,
Bharati College
invite you to a lecture titled
‘Shakespeare’s Questioning of the Renaissance Image of Man in
Hamlet and King Lear’,
to be delivered by
Dr. Subhajit Sengupta,
Associate Professor, Department of English and Culture Studies,
University of Burdwan
on Monday, 16th March 2015
from 12:15 p.m. onward
the Seminar Room,
Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi – 25.


This proposed lecture falls into two distinct, though related, sections. The first briefly historicises Renaissance perceptions on the question of human greatness, while the second looks at Shakespeare’s Hamlet and King Lear as plays that counter certain major Renaissance humanist assumptions about man, and occasionally, about the universe. These plays problematize Renaissance humanist ideology by subjecting it to subtle but incessant questioning. The essentialist humanism which shapes Hamlet’s mind undermines, almost paradoxically, the very possibilities of that humanist ideology.  Several of his speeches are characterised by an acknowledgement of conventional Renaissance humanist wisdom about the universe and about man, only to subsequently give way to a very private perspective upon the same. This private perspective, pessimistic and cynical, constitutes Hamlet’s questioning of Renaissance humanist thought. In this complementary parallelism of macrocosm and microcosm, we have a remarkable antithesis of humanism and counter-humanism. The skeptical questioning of Renaissance humanism informs King Lear too. This play about filial ingratitude is also a play about the ‘barrenness’ of man, and the suggestions of man’s fundamental affinity with beasts threaten to undermine the distinctions between man and beast so energetically made in conventional Renaissance formulations of the image of man.

For more details, please feel free to mail to, or call/text Mr. Anubhav Pradhan at 09999105003.