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The First Quarto of Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  

The First Quarto of Hamlet

Part of the The New Cambridge Shakespeare: The Early Quartos Series
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Synopsis

The First Quarto of Hamlet by William Shakespeare

The first quarto of Hamlet is radically different from the second quarto and Folio versions of the play, and about half their length. But despite its uneven verbal texture and simpler characterisation, the first quarto presents its own workable alternatives to the longer texts, reordering and combining key plot elements, and even including a unique scene between Horatio and the Queen. This new critical edition is designed for students, scholars and actors who are intrigued by the first printed text of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Although the first quarto has been reprinted many times, there is no other modernised edition in print. Irace's introduction outlines views of its origins, its special features, and its surprisingly rich performance history; her textual notes point out differences between the first quarto and the longer second quarto and Folio versions and offer alternatives which actors or directors might choose for specific productions.

About the Author

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was born at Stratford upon Avon in April, 1564. He was the third child, and eldest son, of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. Little is known of Shakespeare’s early life; but it is unlikely that a writer who dramatized such an incomparable range and variety of human kinds and experiences should have spent his early manhood entirely in placid pursuits in a country town. There is one tradition, not universally accepted, that he fled from Stratford because he was in trouble for deer stealing, and had fallen foul of Sir Thomas Lucy, the local magnate; another that he was for some time a schoolmaster.

When Shakespeare died fourteen of his plays had been separately published in Quarto booklets. In 1623 his surviving fellow actors, John Heming and Henry Condell, with the co-operation of a number of printers, published a collected edition of thirty-six plays in one Folio volume, with an engraved portrait, memorial verses by Ben Jonson and others, and an Epistle to the Reader in which Heming and Condell make the interesting note that Shakespeare’s ‘hand and mind went together, and what he thought, he uttered with that easiness that we have scarce received from him a blot in his papers.’

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Book Info

Publication date

13th April 1999

Author

William Shakespeare

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Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Format

Paperback
144 pages

Categories

Shakespeare plays

ISBN

9780521653909

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