Oct 03, 2015 News
In 1980, University of Guyana lecturer (UG) Edgar Wilson completed the manuscript for his book, “Hamlet: A Portrait of the Reformation”.
Though his manuscript had undergone several drafts, it was never published and instead, made its way through his family. Wilson passed away before being able to see his book hit the shelves.
However – 35 years later – the book is finally being published, thanks to the author’s son, Dr. Keith Wilson, and UG yesterday became the recipient of a few copies to add to its library.
Copies of the books were handed over from Wilson, a retired University Professor and Project Manager at NASA’s Optical Ground Station, to new UG Registrar Dr. C. Nigel Gravesande during a simple ceremony in UG’s library foyer.
In his address, Wilson explained that he was the editor and publisher of his father’s manuscript. He admitted that he had previously been daunted not only by the size of the manuscript but also by its content. However, after settling into retirement, Wilson said that he read the manuscript for six months and enjoyed his father’s work immensely.
“My father had an ability to teach without obviously teaching,” Wilson said, before adding, “Even as I prepared this book, I learnt so much more about Shakespeare, so much more about Hamlet.”
In describing his father, Wilson said that the elder man was an avid lover of poetry. In fact, he said, while most persons sang in the bathroom, his father would instead recite poetry, particularly the works of Shakespeare.
Wilson admitted that the book is not an easy read. It is in-depth and requires attention to details such as its construct, personages, and actors. Nonetheless, he said, it is more than worth a read.
According to him, the book touches not only on the forefront tale of Hamlet and his quest to kill his uncle, but also on the subtexts of the English and German reformations. The reformation was a 16th century event which saw English and German reformers questioning the powers of the Catholic Church.
“’Hamlet: Portrait of the Reformation’ is a fresh look at Shakespeare’s book. It reveals the political intrigue and the murderous plots of the Catholic Church and the European princes during the time of Shakespeare,” Wilson surmised.
Wilson stressed that the book could not have been published without the “cadre of Guyanese people” who aided him. Furthermore, the manuscript was written in UG and Wilson therefore found it appropriate to present copies of the finished work to the university.
In accepting the books from Wilson, Registrar Gravesande expressed great admiration of Wilson’s father. He shared that he had been a student of the senior Wilson during his time at UG. He said that he fondly remembers lessons taught to him by Edgar. These lessons, he added, still impact his life today.
“Edgar Wilson was a profound academic who had a love for the language; in fact, I believe that I am unworthy to unstrap his sandals when it comes to effective utilisation of the language,” he said.
`He continued, “I believe that a library, being the repository of knowledge for generations, is certainly in a good position to be the recipient of this publication.”
He further went on to assure Wilson that the book will be a “significant and invaluable collection to the historiography of the institution.”
“I hope that for those of us that will consume the pages of this work we will benefit from perfect results, wonderful blessings, and a love for the language.”
Copies of the book were also made available to the Guyana National Library as well as to Ethyl Wilson, the author’s sister.
University Librarian Debra Lowe explained that there is a plan to have the book officially launched within a year book. She said, too, that UG’s Faculty of Education and Humanities will select a lecturer to review the book before it is launch.
Additionally, the copies of the books given to the university will be processed as expeditiously as possible and made available to the library users shortly.
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