Stapleford Granary

Course description

Saturday 16 November 2019

 14.00-17.30   £50/ £45 students

Tea and coffee provided


In partnership with Literature Cambridge


Join us for an intensive Study Day of lectures and a seminar on Hamlet, Shakespeare’s great tragedy of revenge, mourning, and madness. Two leading Cambridge scholars will explore some new ideas about the play. 

Hamlet is a tragic tale of revenge. As a young man, Danish prince Hamlet returns home and learns that his father has been killed. His mother has married the man whom Hamlet suspects of being the murderer. Hamlet’s father comes as a ghost, urging Hamlet to revenge the death. What should Hamlet do? 

Both lecturers are excellent, accessible speakers. You can talk to them over a cup of tea during the afternoon, and we finish the day with a round-table seminar. 

Whether you know Hamlet well, or are coming to it for the first time, this study day will deepen your knowledge of this remarkable work. 

Fred Parker, Hamlet: ‘there’s the rub’

Hamlet asks the players for ‘smoothness’ in their performance of tragedy. What might this mean, and why, in this play, is it so hard to achieve? Exploring this question will take us to the idea of the hero, the corruption of the body, and the ways in which words fall short.

Adrian Poole, Playing for time in Hamlet

This not a phrase that Shakespeare could have known – 'to play for time' – yet he would have recognised and liked it, for it raises questions that are central to his plays about what makes for 'a good time', not least in this great play about a youth confronting a time that is 'out of joint'.


About our lecturers

Dr Fred Parker is a Fellow of Clare College and a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Cambridge. His books include The Devil as Muse: Blake, Byron and the Adversary; Scepticism and Literature and Johnson’s Shakespeare.

Professor Adrian Poole is Emeritus Professor of English Literature and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. His books include Shakespeare and the Victorians; Tragedy: A Very Short Introduction, Great Shakespeareans, and many others.

A great opportunity to experience, or revisit, the best of university teaching.

 Further information:

Telephone: 01223 324960