LAWRENCE – If you didn’t know that William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” was also a book, many more surprises may be in store for you at guest lecturer Zachary Lesser’s discussion about the well-known work.
Lesser, of the University of Pennsylvania, will discuss “'Hamlet’ after Q1: To Be or Not to Be and the Meaning of Conscience” as the presenter for the annual American-British Lecture hosted by the University of Kansas Department of English. Lesser’s lecture will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, at Alderson Auditorium in the Kansas Union.
Lesser is the author of the past decade’s most groundbreaking Shakespeare scholarship. His first book, “Renaissance Drama and the Politics of Publication” (2004), re-imagines the reception and meaning of English Renaissance plays by reading them through the eyes of their earliest publishers. The book won the prestigious Elizabeth Dietz Award for best book of the year in early modern studies.
Along with this book, Lesser’s many articles and his forthcoming book on “Hamlet” have revolutionized our understanding of William Shakespeare’s literary accomplishment. In his lecture, Lesser will describe the discovery, in 1823, of the earliest edition of “Hamlet,” a book unfamiliar to most readers of Shakespeare’s best-known play. Lesser will explore the crucial differences between that book and the more familiar “Hamlet,” arguing for the rich cultural significance of those differences.
The Department of English is part of the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which encourages learning without boundaries in its more than 50 departments, programs and centers. Through innovative research and teaching, the College emphasizes interdisciplinary education, global awareness and experiential learning. The College is KU's broadest, most diverse academic unit.