Scholar Talk: Looking for Hamlet
Location: Riverton Branch
Audience: Kids & Families
The first collected works of Shakespeare, known as the First Folio, may well be the most important book ever published in the English language. Prior to its publication, Shakespeare’s plays appeared individually in smaller, less impressive books known as quartos. Despite its undisputed importance—eighteen of the thirty-six plays had never been published before—the Folio did not bring together Shakespeare’s “original” texts; indeed, some of the quartos may be closer to the author’s own manuscripts, also known as his “foul papers.” Focusing on Hamlet, University of Southern Maine Professor Ben Bertram will examine the way editors, directors, actors, teachers, and scholars choose among folio, quarto, or conflated versions of the plays. He will also be accompanied by actors who will perform Hamlet’s soliloquies and join in a discussion of how Shakespeare’s words make it from the page to the stage. This presentation is part of a series of events sponsored by the Portland Public Library, which is hosting the Folger Shakespeare Library’s copy of the First Folio in a nation-wide tour commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
Presented by Benjamin Bertram, Shakespeare Scholar and Associate Professor of English at the University of Southern Maine and actor, Ron Botting, of Portland Stage Company.