Through Jacques Derrida’s extended discussion in Specters of Marx: The State of

the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International, Shakespeare’s Hamlet has

become “an exemplary text for thinking together about the current state of the world” (Royle). This article concerns Shakespeare’s Hamlet alongside Milton’s Paradise Lost as texts central to writing the “literary history of the International.” Whereas Derrida and Marx placed Hamlet at the center of their influential international visions, this article argues that the role of republicanism in forging international solidarity from the seventeenth-century onwards suggests that any literary history of the International ought also to include that key republican touchstone, Milton’s Paradise Lost. Against current critical consensus, however, it also argues that Paradise Lost’s republican internationalism developed through Milton’s own reading of Hamlet, and that

Shakespeare himself may have been Milton’s “old mole.”


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pp. 365-389
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