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Katherine Rowe's "Remember me": Technologies of Memory in Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet

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Katherine Rowe examines cinematic adaptations of Shakespeare

Recent work on Shakespeare and film has tended to leave the text behind in order to move beyond questions of cinematic faithfulness. Yet this reasonable impulse effectively obscures the ways cultural practices based on older technologies, such as playtexts and writing, persist in and shape our uses of newer forms, such as film and video. Michael Almereyda's film Hamlet offers an opportunity for comparatist analysis of what Michel Serres would call the "polychronic" nature of these technologies: the early technologies allegorized in Shakespeare's play; the multimedia practices illustrated in John Willis's 1621 manual, The Art of Memory; the mnemonic grammar of television and video editing; and even the forms of quotation we use in scholarly discussions of printed and audio-visual texts.