Monday, June 16, 2014

Mail from the great beyond gets misdirected, too

Last night I dreamed I was writing an article proving that the book Polonius hands Ophelia in 3.1 (when he sends her to confront Hamlet) is Lewis Bayly's "The Practice of Piety."

This was such a weirdly specific dream, about texts I've never worked on--I haven't even taught Hamlet in three or four years and I'm pretty sure I've never read Bayly--that I awoke wondering if there might actually be something to this: could my subconscious mind have produced something totally brilliant? Or maybe even received some kind of supernatural transmission??

Alas, a quick database search revealed that Bayly's book was probably first published in 1611, at least a decade too late.

Still, now that I know my subconscious can produce plausible-sounding scholarly arguments, I'm pissed it hasn't been helping me with my actual work all these years.


Fie upon this quiet life! said...

haha. Did you find out anything about the book that Polonius gives her? I have read about the book that Hamlet is supposed to be reading, but not the one Ophelia is supposed to be reading. Hey, maybe it's the same book. ;)

Fretful Porpentine said...

Heh, on the one and only occasion when I had a scholarly research dream, it involved discovering that Severus Snape was a character in the early manuscripts of Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, but he had to be edited out because he kept mixing antidotes for the characters who got poisoned and giving everyone else undiplomatic-but-beneficial advice, so no one ever actually died. Clearly, my subconscious cannot do plausible scholarly work at all, but it was a very entertaining dream anyway.

Natori Moore said...

Love this Flavia, especially the specificity of your dream. Stay tuned maybe there will be more!

Pamphilia said...

I actually have a piece coming out in a collection in October with Arden about that very scene in Hamlet with the book as a prop used to "color your loneliness." I always wondered what kind of book it was. Hamlet says "Nymph, in thy orisons be all my sins remembered." Which suggests that it's a prayer book, but not necessarily--what kind of prayerbooks do Ovidian nymphs who cavort with princes read? I'd rather like to think it's something much more sinful, something that would color Ophelia's cheeks as much as her loneliness, maybe something like "All Ovid's Elegies."

Oh, and I love those scholarly dreams, even if they don't get us anywhere directly, they can still help us move along.