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

  • Anthony Kubiak
  • Bryan Reynolds

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Assure Assimilation Expense Ghost Crest 

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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony Kubiak
  • Bryan Reynolds

There are no affiliations available

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