Hamlet (The Alexander Shakespeare)

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9780001973176: Hamlet (The Alexander Shakespeare)

The "Annotated Shakespeare" series allows readers to fully understand and enjoy the rich plays of the world's greatest dramatist. One of the most frequently read and performed of all stage works, Shakespeare's "Hamlet" is unsurpassed in its complexity and richness. This fully annotated version of "Hamlet" makes the play completely accessible to readers in the 21st century. It has been carefully assembled with students, teachers and the general reader in mind. Eminent linguist and translator Burton Raffel offers help with vocabulary and usage of Elizabethan English, pronunciation, prosody and alternative readings of phrases and lines. His on-page annotations provide readers with all the tools they need to comprehend the play and begin to explore its many possible interpretations. In his introduction, Raffel offers important background on the origins and previous versions of the Hamlet story, along with an analysis of the characters of Hamlet and Ophelia. And in a concluding essay, Harold Bloom meditates on the originality of Shakespeare's achievement.

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Product Description:

This edition of Hamlet represents a radically new text of the best known and most widely discussed of all Shakespearean tragedies. Arguing that the text currently accepted is not, in fact, the most authoritative version of the play, this new edition turns to the First Folio of 1623--Shakespeare's "fair copy"--that has been preserved for us in the Second Quarto. Introducing fresh theatrical momentum, this revision provides, as Shakespeare intended, a better, more practical acting script.

Review:

Undoubtedly the most famous of all of Shakespeare's plays, Hamlet remains one of the most enduring but also enigmatic pieces of western literature. The story of Hamlet, the young Prince of Denmark, his tortured relationship with his mother, and his quest to avenge his father's murder at the hand of his brother Claudius has fascinated writers and audiences ever since it was written around 1600.

For many years interest focused on both Hamlet's inability to avenge his father's death, claiming that "the native hue of resolution / Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought", and, according to none other than Freud, his oedipal fixation with his mother. However, more recently critics have turned their attention to Hamlet's bold theatrical self-reflexivity (most famously reflected in the performance of "The Mousetrap"), its fascination with issues of theology and Renaissance humanism, and its dense, complex poetic language. What is so remarkable about the play is the way in which it tends to uncannily reflect the concerns of different epochs. As a result, Hamlet has been at different moments defined as a romantic rebel, an angst-ridden existentialist, a paralysed intellectual and an ambivalent New Man. Whatever subsequent generations make of Hamlet, they are unlikely to exhaust the possibilities of this most extraordinary play. --Jerry Brotton

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Shakespeare, William
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