Had I but Time... I Could Tell You: Hamlet's Unspoken Dialectic with Descartes, Kant, and Heidegger

By John DeCarlo.

Published by New Directions in the Humanities, a book imprint by Common Ground Publishing

Format Price
Book: Print $US40.00
Book: Electronic $US15.00

Had I But Time... I Could Tell You: Hamlet’s Unspoken Dialectic with Descartes, Kant, and Heidegger portrays Shakespeare, via Hamlet and the Hamlet text, as a poet/proto-modern philosopher whose implicit commitment to an understanding of the philosophical nature of time, human thought, and being, is more systematically and explicitly developed by later philosophical thinkers. Locating important resonances and dissonances between the ideas of the philosophical figures and the Hamlet text, a dialectic is created whereby a reading of their philosophical ideas is possible through the lens of the Hamlet text, just as the Hamlet text can be read via the lenses of their philosophical ideas.

“DeCarlo attempts to solicit, in the etymological sense of shaking up, the whole Hamlet edifice by elaborating a radical re-reading not only of Shakespeare’s most canonical and hyper-interpreted play but also of Hamlet as Shakespeare’s philosophical persona, that is, of Hamlet as an ad hoc philosopher who operates in terms of a dialectic between concept and figure and who authors a discourse that at once foreshadows and haunts the subsequent unfolding of Western philosophy in ways heretofore unacknowledged. DeCarlo sets out in his brilliant and compelling project by operating as a literary critic, philosopher, and historian — or better, genealogist — of ideas. His methodology is that of a hermeneutics of risk, encountering and being struck by the text’s “theater-ideas” and by examining the way in which theater (Hamlet) thinks. In doing so, the monograph takes the sort of interdisciplinary and hermeneutic risks that should inform contemporary work in the humanities.”

-Dr. Pellegrino D’Acierno, Professor of Comparative Literature, Distinguished Professor of Italian Studies, Hofstra University


“DeCarlo is particularly strong on the relation between the Shakespearean corpus and post-Shakespearean developments in both early modern and contemporary philosophy. This is an important book, with a special emphasis on the interface between time and the difficult to nail down consciousness of Hamlet.”

-Dr. Glenn Statile, Professor of Philosophy, St. Johns University

Keywords: Shakespeare, Hamlet, Philosophy

Book: Print (Paperback). Book: Electronic (PDF File; 5.684MB). Published by New Directions in the Humanities, a book imprint by Common Ground Publishing, Illinois.

Professor John DeCarlo

Associate Professor, English and Humanities, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, USA

In keeping with my training at Brandeis University, Union Theological Seminary, and Hofstra University -- the monograph is an interdisciplinary study of philosophy, psychology, and literature. The monograph is also an outgrowth of papers delivered both nationally and internationally at conferences held by the Association of Integrated Studies, the German Studies Association, the Long Island Philosophical Society, and the International Society for the Study of European Ideas.

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