For Hamlet

He said: “To be or not to be, that is the question.” I’m tired after moving, which involved reading all the books again before putting them on the shelves. The Shakespeare – all works in one – book is sticking out, and I’m tired of thinking of that one line. "Why can’t I think of another," I ask myself? I’m tired of dying people asking questions. Gertrude asked Alice: “what is the answer,” and when Alice didn’t say anything, she said, “in that case, what is the question?” At least Gertrude was smart and didn’t procrastinate her own death for a philosophical question. My books have arranged themselves while I closed my eyes and thought of England. Agamben should come before Artaud in the alphabetical order. But I don’t want to ask myself whether I should follow the compulsion to letter or not. I reason that since Artaud kept it simple, he should get the honor of beginning theory. Here then the Question is the first book on my first theory shelf. After Derrida, who makes it in the first round, the first shelf ends with Leslie Fiedler’s Waiting for the End. “This shelf means serious business,” I tell myself. “I need a break,” I tell myself again. Hamlet follows, and I ask him whether he wouldn’t mind laying it off. I don’t want to be fucked in the middle of putting things together. From my vantage point I see the paperback section. Some tall books stick out, and I’m happy to procrastinate helping Hamlet out. The titles that I can read are these: Re-search (Burroughs), Elias (Canetti), The Woman who is the Midnight, (Terence Green) The Greek Way (Edith Hamilton) Scratching (The Beat Surface, McClure), Tropic of Capricorn (Miller). “Woa, this is even more serious,” I tell myself. What’s eating Miller, after all that sex with Anaïs Nin? His first was Tropic of Cancer. Gertrude died of cancer to her stomach. “That’s it,” I say, and yell to Hamlet: “Hamlet, fuck philosophy! Off we go.” He’s happy to procrastinate, yet again. We want our books to be crazy about us, just the way we’re crazy about them. Their authors? (here then the question) – we don’t mind them dead. Fin, as they say in French movies. Finitto, in Italian. Tutti morti, if you want to dramatize. The other Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, has nothing to say.


Anonymous said…
:))i'm glad you managed to bury them again on your shelves.they will eventually resurect so perhaps that is why we dont mind them dead for now;).
Anonymous said…
Dear Camelia,

Roundness is difficult to achieve (though round-aboutness migh not be so hard).

I'm just checking in on return from England (alas! my brother's funeral) to congratulate you on your move. (Especially, your resistance to so many of the titles you DID manage to return, unreperused, back on the shelves.) As a semi-reformed ex-structuralist, I sympathize with your agonies about alphabetization, and would therefore like to offer an alternative which has sprung up for me over (what are now) the millennia. This is alphabetization based on the 'foody phoneme' principle (i.e. a system which tends to roundness). Hence 'a gambon' (especially a good one (bene), or even, slightly sacreligiously from the Hebrew, the gambon of your right hand), would precede 'our toad' (no gallic stereotypification intended).

I hope that this helps.
Bent said…
At least "The end", or "Finis", are kosher words in most languages. The Danish equivalent, "Slut" sounds unnecessarily harsh to English ears. (Although, as a description of Hamlet's mother, the word is quite appropriate!)

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