Philip Edwards aims to bring the reader, playgoer and director of Hamlet into the closest possible contact with Shakespeare's most famous and most perplexing play. In his introduction Professor Edwards considers the possibility that Shakespeare made important alterations to Hamlet as it neared production. These would explain some of the differences between the two early texts, quarto and Folio. This edition offers a new synthesis of the two early texts, presenting variants in the collation. The commentary clarifies the rich and complex language, showing how each phrase contributes to the whole, challenging some passages which are still persistently misread. The stage history concentrates on the strange story of the continued mutilation of the text in the theatre.
This edition tells the story of Hamlet in production, from Burbage at the Globe to Branagh on film, relating stage interpretations to developments in the theatre, in literary criticism and in society. The detailed stage history records an ongoing process of discovery, as successive performers have found what it is in the play that will speak most powerfully to the audiences of their own times. The introduction focuses not only on star Hamlets, but on whole productions of the play including supporting players and, in this century, direction and design.
The Annotated Shakespeare - General Editor, Burton Raffel
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