The point of departure of John Drakakis’ investigation of notions of death and decay is Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Drakakis takes the use of a real skull in Gregory Doran’s RSC production of the play (2008) as the starting-point for a discussion of the implications of rereading the Renaissance through the history of the Gothic in terms of the current obsession with notions of death, material and virtual reality. Drawing on a wide variety of Renaissance writers including Donne, Webster and Middleton as well as on Gothic novelists such as Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe and Isabella Kelly, he discusses possible connections and their legitimacy in connection to theoretical approaches from Freud to Bataille and Derrida.
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