Hamlet's Soliloquy

An Eighteenth-Century Genre


  • Regula Hohl Trillini Universität Basel


Hamlet, Parody


Scholars of Shakespearean appropriation tend to take the bard as their point of departure, assuming that rewritings reference the Shakespearean original; intertextual citations, however, often are varied in their range of allusion. This study of eighteenth-century Hamlet parodies uses the HyperHamlet database to examine a large corpus of parodies of the "To be or not to be" soliloquy. If we allow rewritings of Hamlet's soliloquy to transcend their status as samples of parasitic hackwork by reading them as a corpus, there emerges a pattern of recurrent features that makes them look like a genre. Shakespeare parodies make it possible to posit a process by which adaptations of a famous text become recognizable as tokens of a readily available pattern, with no particular reference to the Shakespearean original.

Author Biography

Regula Hohl Trillini, Universität Basel

Regula Hohl Trillini is Lecturer in English at Universität Basel. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Basel as well as an M.A. in German and English literature and degrees as piano teacher and chamber musician. Her book The Gaze of the Listener: English Representations of Domestic Music-Making (Rodopi 2008), analyzes the place of music in the English imagination with particular regard to gender, from Shakespeare's sonnets and early modern drama to prose fiction from the long nineteenth-century, including Jane Austen. Other research interests include intertextuality studies and the reception history of Shakespeare's works. Regula Hohl Trillini has co-designed the HyperHamlet database, an extensive corpus of references to and quotations from Shakespeare's Hamlet, and continues to edit this collection. Her habilitation-in-progress, "Transitive Shakespeare," focuses on the anonymous references and middle-brow re-writings which have constituted an essential part of the ongoing "Shakespeare phenomenon" since the early seventeenth century.