Hamnet: the Secret History Behind Shakespeare’s Hamlet

April 23, 2021

 

As part of the Big Read programme, and to celebrate the birthday of William Shakespeare, the BRLSI was delighted to play host to a discussion of Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell led by Peter Davies from the Bath Shakespeare Society. O’Farrell’s novel is inspired by the little-known story behind what might be the most famous play in history, Hamlet. The death of Hamnet, Shakespeare’s 11-year-old son, in 1596, just four years before Shakespeare writes perhaps his most famous play, lies at the heart of this novel which explores themes of grief and the devastating impact loss places upon a marriage. The novel, which won the 2020 women’s prize for fiction, also explores the wider theme of the bond between twins Hamnet and Judith, and any reader of Shakespeare will know that twinship is probably the most recurrent motif in his work. In this recording of a live online event, Peter Davies delivers a 20 minute rumination on the work, followed by a group discussion.

If you enjoyed this talk, you might like to explore more videos from the Bath Shakespeare Society.

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