Over the course of the summer, LMH authors will join us for a virtual Q & A session as part of our new Alumni Book Club.
Details of how to register for each event will be available nearer the time.
Meg Harris Williams (1974 English) will answer your questions on Hamlet in Analysis – A Trial of Faith
About the author and book
Meg Harris Williams is a writer and artist, with a lifelong psychoanalytic education. Her academic work focuses on the relation between psychoanalysis, art and literature, and has been translated into many languages.
Her books include Inspiration in Milton and Keats (1982), The Chamber of Maiden Thought (1991), The Apprehension of Beauty (1988), The Vale of Soulmaking (2005), The Aesthetic Development (2010), Bion’s Dream (2010), The Becoming Room (2016), and The Art of Personality in Literature and Psychoanalysis (2017).
Meg teaches widely in the UK and abroad; she is a visiting lecturer at the Tavistock Clinic and for AGIP (Association of Group and Individual Psychotherapy) and an Honorary Member of the Psychoanalytic Center of California.
Her book Dream Sequences in Shakespeare: A Psychoanalytic Perspective will be published this year by Routledge. Website: www.artlit.info.
The book is an exploration of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the form of a novel tracing the course of a brief and interrupted psychoanalysis. The intention is to be faithful to the psychoanalytic process as well as to the aesthetic implications of Shakespeare’s play. Hamlet is a university student in the 1970s, and the narrator and analyst is Horatio, whom Hamlet in the play asks to ‘tell his story’ – the story of an adolescent breakdown in which Ophelia’s pregnancy is as significant as his father’s ghost. The novel, like the play, is structured around a series of dreams recounted to Horatio.
Although ‘it is we who are Hamlet’ as Hazlitt said, the perspectives of Ophelia and Horatio are also key parts of the picture; and Horatio’s countertransference as one who is supposed to ‘suffer all yet suffer nothing’ places him in a vulnerable and testing situation that tempts him towards breaches of technique. Meanwhile the underlying preoccupation with playing-as-reality highlights some intriguing implications of Shakespeare’s own mid-career struggles as a dramatist: concerning the relation between genre, analysand-hero and analyst-playwright.