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The Tragicall Historie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke
by William Shakespeare
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This book is part of a controversial new series that raises fundamental questions about the authenticity of Shakespeare's texts as we know them today. In a radical departure from existing series, it presents the earliest known editions of Shakespeare's plays-which differ substantially from the present versions-and argues that these are the most authentic we have. The editors present the text in a form as close as possible to its first publication. It includes an introduction, notes and an appendix containing sample facsimile pages from the original printed texts. Throughout, the emphasis of the critical apparatus is on the theoretical and historical significance of the text and its contextual relationships with theatre, history and cultural politics. "To be, or not to be, I there's the point..."(-"Hamlet", First Quarto). Is the most famous line in the theatre Shakespeare's original wording? According to this 1603 edition, it is not. This text has been rejected by scholars as a "Bad Quarto", a corrupt, pirated text printed without the permission of the playwright or his company. Yet the First Quarto was the first edition of this play to be published and has been produced in the modern theatre with great success. This new edition seeks to acknowledge the play's distinctive poetic and dramatic qualities, instead of comparing them unfavorably to one of the other versions. This may be Shakespeare's real Hamlet.
About the Author
Graham Holderness is Professor of Humanities at Hatfield Polytechnic. He is the author of numerous critical studies in Renaissance and modern literature and theatre. Bryan Loughrey is Research Co-ordinator at Roehampton Institute, London. He has published and edited widely in the field of Renaissance studies and in general literature and criticism.
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