The primary hypothesis of the doctoral thesis “Let the other be: Hamlet-ideologemes in Dostoevsky’s Demons” is that Stavrogin is one of Dostoevsky’s Hamletian characters and that Shakespeare’s Hamlet is one of the hypotexts of Demons. Because of the complex palimpsestic relations between Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Russian Hamletism and Dostoevsky’s understanding of the figure of Hamlet, the thesis offers a re-evaluation of linear literary transmission, the concept of source and a revision of intertextuality within the scope of Dostoevsky’s use of Shakespeare’s work and Russian Hamletism. Moreover, the thesis introduces Dostoevsky’s Hamlet-ideologeme as a tool to dismantle the intricate and dynamic understanding of Hamletian motifs in his oeuvre. The Hamlet-ideologeme can be summarized as the undecidability of the heroes about what to be and what to do. The thesis identifies the Hamlet-ideologeme isotopy in the ‘Let be project’ based on Dostoevsky’s letter to Mikhail Dostoevsky (9th of August 1838) that is interpreted as Dostoevsky’s answer to the Hamletian ‘to be or not to be’ dilemma. A heuristic four-layer model is introduced to identify the Hamlet-ideologeme, consisting of subtextual, paratextual, intertextual, interdiscursive and textual layers for an articulate analysis of this complex palimpsestic system. The four-layer model of signification is as follows: firstly, on the level of the text, Dostoevsky employs peculiar strategies to disseminate Hamletian motifs and references to Hamlet. Secondly, references to Shakespeare have a paratextual function, as seen in the title of the second chapter of the novel named after Prince Harry from Henry IV. Furthermore, Dostoevsky uses references to Shakespeare and Hamlet to participate in an intertextual and interdiscursive dialogue with the contemporary political and aesthetic debates and conceptualizes Stavrogin as his version of the superfluous man in the tradition of Russian Hamletism. Finally, the thesis suggests that a deeper and unexplored subtextual connection of Shakespeare’s work and Demons is revealed in the preparatory materials for the novel that construct Stavrogin as a Hamletian hero. Moreover, the thesis singles out two crucial types of logic found in Shakespeare’s play, Russian Hamletism and Dostoevsky’s appropriation of both in his Hamlet-ideologeme and Demons. The first is the logic of political conspiracy and surveillance. It is present at the level of the plot and thematizes the resistance of Hamlet and Stavrogin to interpretation and interpellation. On the other hand, the enigmatic features of both characters are also due to their search for identity (meaning, values and truth). Thus, the second logic is that of the search for identity. The thesis uses a combination of theoretical approaches to analyse the representation of Stavrogin’s subjectivity and the Hamlet-ideologeme related to it, relying on aspects of Jacques Lacan’s, Michel Foucault’s, and Louis Althusser’s theories. More precisely, Lacan’s triparted structure of the psyche (Imaginary, Symbolic and Real), with an emphasis on the role of the Real in the construction of meaning, Foucault’s interpretation of power and subjectification, along with Althusser’s analysis of the relation between ideology and subjectivity are used as a framework for interpreting the above-mentioned twofold logic in Hamlet and Demons. Lastly, the appendix contains Гамлет, a practice-as-research experimental adaptation of the PhD thesis into a performance text. Гамлет is a form of lyrical pastiche, based on Dostoevsky’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s character, including a wider discursive field of references to Hamlet and Russian Hamletism, as well as resonances from other literary and theoretical works.

Let the other be: Hamlet-ideologemes in Dostoevsky’s Demons

Petra Bjelica
2022

Abstract

The primary hypothesis of the doctoral thesis “Let the other be: Hamlet-ideologemes in Dostoevsky’s Demons” is that Stavrogin is one of Dostoevsky’s Hamletian characters and that Shakespeare’s Hamlet is one of the hypotexts of Demons. Because of the complex palimpsestic relations between Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Russian Hamletism and Dostoevsky’s understanding of the figure of Hamlet, the thesis offers a re-evaluation of linear literary transmission, the concept of source and a revision of intertextuality within the scope of Dostoevsky’s use of Shakespeare’s work and Russian Hamletism. Moreover, the thesis introduces Dostoevsky’s Hamlet-ideologeme as a tool to dismantle the intricate and dynamic understanding of Hamletian motifs in his oeuvre. The Hamlet-ideologeme can be summarized as the undecidability of the heroes about what to be and what to do. The thesis identifies the Hamlet-ideologeme isotopy in the ‘Let be project’ based on Dostoevsky’s letter to Mikhail Dostoevsky (9th of August 1838) that is interpreted as Dostoevsky’s answer to the Hamletian ‘to be or not to be’ dilemma. A heuristic four-layer model is introduced to identify the Hamlet-ideologeme, consisting of subtextual, paratextual, intertextual, interdiscursive and textual layers for an articulate analysis of this complex palimpsestic system. The four-layer model of signification is as follows: firstly, on the level of the text, Dostoevsky employs peculiar strategies to disseminate Hamletian motifs and references to Hamlet. Secondly, references to Shakespeare have a paratextual function, as seen in the title of the second chapter of the novel named after Prince Harry from Henry IV. Furthermore, Dostoevsky uses references to Shakespeare and Hamlet to participate in an intertextual and interdiscursive dialogue with the contemporary political and aesthetic debates and conceptualizes Stavrogin as his version of the superfluous man in the tradition of Russian Hamletism. Finally, the thesis suggests that a deeper and unexplored subtextual connection of Shakespeare’s work and Demons is revealed in the preparatory materials for the novel that construct Stavrogin as a Hamletian hero. Moreover, the thesis singles out two crucial types of logic found in Shakespeare’s play, Russian Hamletism and Dostoevsky’s appropriation of both in his Hamlet-ideologeme and Demons. The first is the logic of political conspiracy and surveillance. It is present at the level of the plot and thematizes the resistance of Hamlet and Stavrogin to interpretation and interpellation. On the other hand, the enigmatic features of both characters are also due to their search for identity (meaning, values and truth). Thus, the second logic is that of the search for identity. The thesis uses a combination of theoretical approaches to analyse the representation of Stavrogin’s subjectivity and the Hamlet-ideologeme related to it, relying on aspects of Jacques Lacan’s, Michel Foucault’s, and Louis Althusser’s theories. More precisely, Lacan’s triparted structure of the psyche (Imaginary, Symbolic and Real), with an emphasis on the role of the Real in the construction of meaning, Foucault’s interpretation of power and subjectification, along with Althusser’s analysis of the relation between ideology and subjectivity are used as a framework for interpreting the above-mentioned twofold logic in Hamlet and Demons. Lastly, the appendix contains Гамлет, a practice-as-research experimental adaptation of the PhD thesis into a performance text. Гамлет is a form of lyrical pastiche, based on Dostoevsky’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s character, including a wider discursive field of references to Hamlet and Russian Hamletism, as well as resonances from other literary and theoretical works.
Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, "Hamlet", "Demons", Stavrogin
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1070186
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