The Delusion of Critique: Subjunctive Space, Transversality, and the Conceit of Deceit in Hamlet

  • Anthony Kubiak
  • Bryan Reynolds


In their recent essay, ‘ “A little touch of Harry in a night”: Translucency and Projective Transversality in the Sexual and National Politics of Henry V,’ Donald Hedrick and Bryan Reynolds argue that Shakespeare’s Princess Catherine potentially undermines King Henry’s fantasized domination of her during sex by occupying antithetically the conceptual-emotional space-time of Catherine’s blindness by ‘winking’ (5.2.262). In other words, Henry’s fantasy of Catherine closing her eyes during sex that he shares with Burgundy (‘Yet they do wink and yield, as love is blind and enforces’ [5.2.259]) so that he can enter her from behind (‘and so I shall catch the fly, your cousin [Catherine], in the latter end, and she must be blind too’ [5.2.270–1]), inadvertently makes room for Catherine, in her imagination, to ‘disappear’ and thereby deceive Henry. As Hedrick and Reynolds put it,

Sex-without-seeing, from the perspective of this [Henry’s] fantasy, indicates a trajectory of male and national domination. But a transversal reading suggests a different possibility altogether — a key to the scene, if not to the entire play: by closing one’s eyes, one “disappears” the other, or even transforms the other into someone else. Instead of transversality as a becoming-other of one’s own subjectivity, becoming what you are not, transversality might be now thought of in terms of transforming the other outside himself or herself, a projective transversality or “Renaissance other-fashioning.” What we are suggesting is that transversality and translucency may act as mechanisms with an entirely different outcome or purpose for Catherine than for Henry in his performance of himself.


Critical Theory Subjective Territory True Story Mind Body Problem Projective Transversality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Works cited

  1. Althusser, Louis. ‘Ideology and the State.’ In Lenin and Philosophy. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1971.Google Scholar
  2. Artaud, Antonin. ‘The Theater of Cruelty: First Manifesto.’ in Antonin Artaud: Selected Writing. Ed. and introduction Susan Sontag. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1976.Google Scholar
  3. Blaha, Stephen. Cosmos and Consciousness: Quantum Computers, Super Strings, Programming, Egypt, Quarks, Mind Body Problem, and Turing Machines. Auburn, New Hampshire: Pingree-Hill Publishing, 2002.Google Scholar
  4. Blau, Herbert. The Dubious Spectacle: Extremities of Theater, 1976–2000. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002.Google Scholar
  5. Byrne, Richard and Andrew Whiten. ‘Tactical deception of familiar individuals in baboons.’ In Machiavellian Intelligence: Social Expertise and the Evolution of Intellect in Monkeys, Apes, and Humans. Edited by Richard Byrne and Andrew Whiten. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988.Google Scholar
  6. Butler, Judith. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of ‘Sex.’ New York: Routledge: New York, 1993.Google Scholar
  7. Dennett, Daniel. Consciousness Explained. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1991.Google Scholar
  8. Haraway, Donna. Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science. New York: Routledge, 1989.Google Scholar
  9. Hedrick, Donald and Bryan Reynolds. ‘“A little touch of Harry in the Night”: Translucency and Projective Transversality in the Sexual and National Politics of Henry V,’ in Bryan Reynolds, Performing Transversally: Reimagining Shakespeare and the Critical Future. Palgrave Macmillan: New York, 2003: 171–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hedrick, Donald and Bryan Reynolds. ‘Shakespace and Transversal Power,’ in Hedrick and Reynolds, Ed., Shakespeare Without Class: Misappropriations of Cultural Capital (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000): 3–50.Google Scholar
  11. Hedrick, Donald and Bryan Reynolds. Machiavellian Intelligence II: Extensions and Evaluations. Edited by Andrew Whiten and Richard Byrne. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  12. Reynolds, Bryan. Performing Transversally: Reimagining Shakespeare and the Critical Future. Palgrave Macmillan: New York, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Reynolds, Bryan. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women. New York: Routledge, 1991.Google Scholar
  14. Shakespeare, William. King Henry V, Ed. Andrew Gurr. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992.Google Scholar
  15. Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Ed. Kenneth Muir. London: Methuen, 1951.Google Scholar
  16. Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. The Arden Shakespeare. Ed. Harold Jenkins. New York: Routledge, 1989, 1990.Google Scholar
  17. Shakespeare, William. Timon of Athens. The Arden Shakespeare. Ed. H. J. Oliver. New York. Methuen, 1959.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony Kubiak
  • Bryan Reynolds

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations