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This Norton Critical Edition of Hamlet features a newly edited text based on the Second Quarto (1604-05). It is accompanied by detailed explanatory annotations and appendices providing important passages from both the First Quarto Hamlet (1603) and the Folio Hamlet (1623). Robert S. Miola's thought-provoking introduction, "Imagining Hamlet," considers this tragedy as it has taken shape in the theater, in criticism, and in various cultures.

"The Actors' Gallery" presents famous actors and actresses-among them Sarah Bernhardt, Ellen Terry, John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton, Kenneth Branagh, and Jude Law-reflecting on their roles in major productions of Hamlet for stage and screen. "Contexts" includes generous selections from the Bible, Greek (Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides) and Roman (Seneca) tragedies, Saxo Grammaticus, Dante, Thomas More, and Thomas Kyd.

"Criticism" reprints a wide range of historical and scholarly commentary including English critics (John Dryden, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Samuel Johnson), European and Russian writers (Voltaire, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Leo Tolstoy), and Americans (John Quincy Adams, Edgar Allan Poe, Abraham Lincoln). Recent scholarly writing takes various approaches to Hamlet-mythic (Gilbert Murray), psychoanalytic (Ernest Jones), comparativist (Harry Levin), feminist (Elaine Showalter), and New Historicist (Stephen Greenblatt), among others.

An engaging selection of Hamlet's "Afterlives" includes the seventeenth-century Der Bestrafte Brudermord; David Garrick's altered stage version; comic reflections by Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Tom Stoppard; and selections from Heinrich Muller's postmodern nightmare (Hamletmachine), Jawad al Assadi's cynical Arab adaptation (Forget Hamlet), and John Updike's haunting novel (Gertrude and Claudius).

A Selected Bibliography is also included.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • 130 x 213 x 23mm | 410g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New Edition
  • 0393929582
  • 9780393929584
  • 27,311

Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction: Imagining Hamlet

The Text of Hamlet

Textual Notes

Appendix 1: Passages from Quarto 1 (1603)

Appendix 2: Passages from the Folio (1623)

The Actors' Gallery

Edwin Booth, 1878, 1882

Henry Irving, 1890

Sarah Bernhardt, 1924

Ellen Terry, 1908, 1932

John Gielgud, 1937, 1963

Richard Burton, 1954

Laurence Olivier, 1982, 1986

Kenneth Branagh, 1996

Michael Pennington, 1996

Jude Law, 2009


The Bible (c. 1250 BCE-57 CE)




Greek Tragedy (5th century BCE)

Aeschylus ? The Libation-Bearers

Sophocles ? Electra

Euripides ? Electra


Seneca (4 BCE-65 CE)



Saxo Grammaticus ? Historica Danica (1180-1208)

Dante Alighieri ? Inferno (c. 1315)

Thomas More ? The Supplication of Souls (1529)

Thomas Kyd ? The Spanish Tragedy (1592)


John Dryden ? Preface to Troilus and Cressida (1679)

Nicholas Rowe ? Some Account of the Life, &c of Mr.
William Shakespeare, (1709)

Voltaire ? Preface to Semiramis (1748); Du
Theatre Anglais (1761)

Samuel Johnson ? Notes on Hamlet (1765)

George Steevens ? Letter to Garrick (1771); On Hamlet's
Character (1785)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ? Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

Samuel Taylor Coleridge ? Lecture on Hamlet (1812)

John Quincy Adams ? Letter to Hackett (1839)

Edgar Allan Poe ? Review of Hazlitt (1845)

Abraham Lincoln ? Letter to Hackett (1863)

Leo Tolstoy ? Shakespeare and the Drama (1908)

Gilbert Murray ? Hamlet and Orestes (1914)

Ernest Jones ? A Psycho-analytic Study of Hamlet (1922)

Harry Levin ? The Question of Hamlet (1959)

Elaine Showalter ? Representing Ophelia: Women, Madness, and
the Responsibilities of Feminist Criticism (1985)

Stephen Greenblatt ? Hamlet in Purgatory (2001)

Kenneth S. Rothwell ? An Annotated and Chronological
Screenography: Major Hamlet Adaptations and Selected Derivatives

Tony Howard ? Women as Hamlet (2007)

Margreta de Grazia ? Empires of World History (2007)


Der Bestrafte Brudermord (early 17th century)

Henry Fielding ? [Partridge and the Ghost] (1749)

David Garrick ? [The Ending of Hamlet] (1772)

Hamlet Travesties

John Poole ? Hamlet Travestie (1817)

Francis Talfourd ? Hamlet Travestie (1849)

Geroge Edward Rice ? An Old Play in a New Garb (1853)

Charles Dickens ? [Mr. Wopsle's Hamlet] 1861

Mark Twain ? [Huck Finn on Hamlet] (1885)

Boris Pasternak ? Hamlet (1946)

Tom Stoppard ? Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Heiner Muller ? Hamletmachine (1979)

Jawad al-Assadi ? Forget Hamlet (1994)

John Updike ? Gertrude and Claudius (2000)

Jasper Fforde ? Something Rotten (2004)

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About William Shakespeare

Robert S. Miola is Gerard Manley Hopkins Chair of English at Loyola University Maryland. He is the author of Shakespeare's Reading, Shakespeare and Classical Comedy: The Influence of Plautus and Terence, Shakespeare and Classical Tragedy: The Influence of Seneca, and The Comedy of Errors: Critical Essays, as well as dozens of articles on sixteenth-century English literature.
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