Appendix: Hamlet Resources

Hamlet Editions

Edwards, Phillip, editor. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, written by William Shakespeare, 3rd ed., Cambridge UP, 1985.

—. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, written by William Shakespeare, Rev. ed., Cambridge UP, 2023.

Edwards’ edition is based on Q2, with some readings from F preferred. The 2023 edition is revised with a new introduction by Heather Hirschfeld.

Hibbard, George Richard, editor. The Oxford Shakespeare: Hamlet,written by William Shakespeare, Oxford UP, 1987.

Based on a detailed reconsideration of Q1, Q2 and F, this edition hypothesises that F is closely related to Shakespeare’s fair copy. Hibbard therefore chooses F as the ‘control text’ (131) and relegates passages found only in Q2 to an Appendix. Acknowledged as a ‘bad quarto,’ Q1 is regarded as a performance text likewise derived from the text behind F (88). Hibbard argues further that the ‘delay’ in achieving vengeance attributed so often to Hamlet arises from Q2’s version of Act 4, Scene 4, where Hamlet contrasts his hesitation with Norway’s eagerness to risk twenty thousand lives for a tiny plot of land (pp. 26-27). This soliloquy does not appear in F.

Jenkins, Harold, editor. The Arden Shakespeare Second Series: Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, Methuen, 1982.

Lott, Bernard, editor. Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, Longmans Green, 1968.

Though the references to criticism are inevitably dated, this edition offers an excellent introduction to Hamlet for students and others reading the play for the first time. Scene summaries and explanatory notes face each page of text and a glossary of difficult words is provided.

Miola, Robert S, editor. Hamlet. 2nd Norton critical ed., W. W. Norton & Company, 2019.

Mowat, Barbara A, and Paul Werstine, editors. Folger Shakespeare Library: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, written by William Shakespeare,  Updated ed., Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2012.

Without being burdened with detail, this edition offers a comprehensive introduction to the plot, characters, performances, early texts and criticism of Hamlet. Large type facilitates reading. The introduction is succinct yet comprehensive. Facing notes, often illustrated with sketches from artworks of the period, clarify the context of ideas. Michael Neill’s essay, Hamlet: A Modern Perspective, is perceptive and original. ‘Further Reading’ summarises some well-chosen pivotal interpretations of Hamlet. This book is highly recommended, both for new readers and for those with pre-existing knowledge of the play. Line references in this Pressbook are to this edition.

Spencer, Terence John Bew, editor. Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, Penguin Random House, 2005.

Alan Sinfield’s Introduction explores the many enigmas of Hamlet and proposes ingenious solutions, some of which are convincing and helpful. I found the section, ‘Patriarchy and Madness’ illuminating, but ‘The Individual and the State’ less so. Sinfield’s and Michael’s Explanatory notes are followed by Spencer’s explanatory ‘Commentary.’

Taylor, Gary, et al., editors. The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition, written by William Shakespeare,  Oxford UP, 2016.

This edition is based on Q2 as ”the longest and most indisputably authoritative early text” (1996)

Taylor, Gary and Gabriel Egan, editors. The New Oxford Shakespeare: Authorship Companion, written by William Shakespeare,  Oxford University Press, 2017.

Thompson, Ann and Neil Taylor, editors. The Arden Shakespeare: Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, Revised ed. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022.

This edition prints ‘three, separate, modernized texts, one based on Q1, one on Q2 and one on F…. This is unprecedented, as far as we know, in the whole history of the play’ (Introduction 90).

Watts, Cedric, editor. Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, Wordsworth Editions, 1992.

The ‘Introduction’ is a succinct, logically structured and illuminating summary of texts and issues which could be adopted as a model for academic writing. Placed at the end, the notes are less comprehensive than most readers need. A glossary keyed to the text explains difficult words.

Hamlet Commentary Mentioned in This eBook

Eliot, Thomas Stearns. ‘Hamlet and His Problems.” The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism. Methuen, 1960, pp. 95-103.

Eliot negatively evaluates Hamlet in relation to his notion of an ‘objective correlative’—the externalisation in art of a particular emotion as sensory experience (100).

Greenblatt, Stephen. “The Death of Hamnet and the Making of Hamlet.” The New York Review of Books, vol. 51, no. 16, 21 Oct. 2004.

This essay summarises what is known of Shakespeare’s circumstances when he wrote Hamlet. Greenblatt explores the likely state of mind and heart that Shakespeare transferred to his play.

—. Hamlet in Purgatory. Princeton University Press, 2001.

Halliday, Frank Ernest. The Life of Shakespeare. Penguin, 1961.

You’ll find a short, useful account of neologisms (words not seen before in English) in Hamlet in Karen Kay’s summary, ‘New Words in Hamlet’ (Department of Education, Louisiana).


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