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Thursday, March 15, 2018

William Shakespeare, "The Mousetrap"


Shakespeare's Hamlet illustrated by Andrej Dugin is available in at least three languages: German, English, Italian. And, is a masterpiece from many viewpoints. The setting provides an accurate insight into late Renaissance fashion, life, objects. The very perfection of Dugin's technique is a legacy of the 16th and 17th centuries. At the same time, the key episodes in Shakespeare's tragedy (above: the making of Old Hamlet's marble grave) are reworked in an approach midway between Symbolism and Surrealism, with complex references to the different levels of meaning in the text and to its atmospheres (above, e.g., the Original Sin in the glass window, and the scale model for the King's monument echoing the outline of Denmark). As an ubiquitous symbolic object, reproduced in different sizes in different contexts, there appears a bizarre wood mousetrap the artist had come across by chance (above, the sculptor's table). By the way, a precious afterword to the book is an interview with Andrej Dugin himself. It would be a big "plus" to add interviews like that whenever a great illustrator is entrusted with the rendition of a Classic of Literature.