Introduction: Shakespeare, Spectro-Textuality, Spectro-Mediality

  • Maurizio Calbi
Part of the Reproducing Shakespeare: New Studies in Adaptation and Appropriation book series (RESH)


In Specters of Marx Jacques Derrida often draws attention to what he calls the “Thing ‘Shakespeare’” (22). This is not a “Thing-in-itself” and/or a reservoir of essential, original and immutable meanings but, rather, an indeterminate ensemble of spectral and iterable marks. It is a “Thing” that, “like an elusive specter, engineers [s’ingenie] a habitation without proper inhabiting”; moving “in the manner of a ghost, … it inhabits without residing” (18).1 The French philosopher also underlines that the “Thing ‘Shakespeare’” lends itself to an infinite series of permutations and yet remains irreducible to, and in excess of, each of these permutations (22). It is translatable and untranslatable. (The immediate context of Derrida’s ruminations is the multiplicity of translations into French of Hamlet’s “The time is out of joint.”) To be more precise, this “Thing” cannot be properly translated. In the language that will be adopted in the course of this book, it cannot be translated, adapted, or remediated without remainders, which are not necessarily textual remainders (at least not in the restricted sense of the word “textual”) but are often mixed with media “matter.” This translatability/untranslatability is the (aporetic) law of its survival as a “Thing,” a sign and symptom of its life as irreducible living-on.2


Sheer Connectivity Media Adaptation Music Track Contemporary Media Repeated Ingestion 
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© Maurizio Calbi 2013

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  • Maurizio Calbi

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