Item description for Hamlet (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series) by Harold Jenkins William Shakespeare...
The Arden Shakespeare is the established edition of Shakespeare's work. Justly celebrated for its authoritative scholarship and invaluable commentary, Arden guides you a richer understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare's plays. This edition of Hamlet provides, a clear and authoritative text, detailed notes and commentary on the same page as the text, a full introduction discussing the critical and historical background to the play and appendices presenting sources and relevant extracts.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.7" Width: 4.9" Height: 1.1" Weight: 1.25 lbs.
Release Date Apr 29, 1982
ISBN 1903436672 ISBN13 9781903436677
Reviews - What do customers think about Hamlet (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series)?
My Favorite Edition Dec 23, 2006
Having spent the greater part of the last 8 years obsessing over Hamlet, having read it more times than there are days in the year, and having owned many different editions of the play, the Harold Jenkins Arden Shakespeare edition is the version I have worn out and in which I have blackened the margins.
Both scholars looking for a comprehensive history of the play and those approaching it from the theater standpoint will find this edition most useful. The readiness is all.
Everything You Want to Know About HAMLET Nov 7, 2006
Although a student reading Hamlet for the first time could benefit from the text of the play and the plethora of notes interspersed in the text, the serious Shakespearean scholar will find rich material in Harold Jenkins 159 page introduction and the extensive longer notes at the end of the play. The careful scholarship and footnotes in this volume are in the tradition of the Arden Shakespeare editions. The clear, thoughtful writing of Editor Harold Jenkins in the introduction goes beyond scholarship to touch highly effective communication.
!!! AMAZING !!! Jun 3, 2004
I love William Shakespeare: he is my favorite writer. Hamlet was the first play that I read, and it instantly became my favorite. My grandmother is a retired English professor, and so she likes to keep a collection of all the famous works. Arden was the series of choice, and therefore 1/2 of a bookshelf is dedicated just to it. I thought that the footnotes were extremely helpful in the Arden Edition of Hamlet, and that the way the page was set up it was easy to read, and preferrable to other books' layout. There were no long paragraphs that told you basically what the whole play was about, and I found that helpful: it's more fun to try to understand it on your own. I have viewed about five other versions of "Hamlet", and I still have not seen one that compares to this one.
Simply Indispensable Nov 1, 2003
When Henry James sat down to write on his Venetian travels for what later became the Italian Hours, he began with a disclaimer: "It is a great pleasure to write the word; but I am not sure there is not a certain impudence in pretending to add anything to it." Turning to Shakespeare, we might amuse ourselves by writing on, say, Hamlet, but can anything be said that's not already been said, and better, a dozen times, by superior critics and closer readers? In the appropriate spirit of humility (and in utter submission to the Bard and his great gift to civilization), I offer a few thoughts on the Arden 2nd Edition of Hamlet, and not on "the greatest work in the history of literature."
Hamlet is by far the longest of the Ardens at 574 pages. It breaks down thusly: the prefatory material of editor Harold Jenkins - one of the Arden Series general editors and a Hamlet authority of great renown - alone takes up 164 pages. Three-quarters of this is bibliographical and historical. In his 40-page critical introduction, Jenkins addresses many of the plays thorniest problems, with the Talmudic attentiveness of the closest reader. Then comes the play itself, spread over 264 pages (in terms of sheer length relative to the Bard's other plays, the text is a monster, coming in at more than 3800 lines). Each page of the Arden includes an average half-page of Jenkins' detailed, argumentative, authoritative, and uncommonly helpful footnotes. The final 146 pages consist of longer (end)notes that Jenkins simply could not physically fit onto the bottom of a page. Many of these are short essays (including an appendix that glosses an earlier discussion on the dating of the play).
Each of the Arden Hamlet's three sections might merit separate publication (after a modest bit of repackaging), but as a totality, Jenkins' edition must be the greatest value on the Shakespeare market. Jenkins' ruminations on the provenance of the story and the many sources Shakespeare might have drawn on, the "Ur-Hamlet" that might have come from the quill of contemporary Thomas Kyd (The Spanish Tragedy), the complexities of determining an authoritative text, the drama's inconsistencies and unanswered questions, the import of the great soliloquy of III.i (which is emphatically NOT, insists Jenkins, a deliberation on whether to commit suicide), Elizabethan revenge dramas in general, and so much more make this a truly indispensable, illuminating, even breathtaking volume.
We think we know this play well. We have read it, and seen performed on stage and in memorable or hideously forgettable films. Many of its greatest lines are embedded in our hearts. The beginning of true understanding, however, resides in a superbly annotated scholarly edition. The Arden is one of several choices you can make and is for me the one to own, equally suitable for students, scholars, actors, and mere Bardolators. It will - provided, of course, you are not already a scholarly specialist in Elizabethan drama - knock the scales from your eyes. And until the 3rd edition now in preparation under Ann Thompson is published, this Hamlet will stand as the epitome of the Arden Shakespeare's greatness as a series.
Best edition available. Aug 23, 2003
As one who collects editions of HAMLET, I can say without reservation that the Arden (2nd edition) is the hands-down best edition you can buy of the greatest work in our language. The notes are as complete as can possibly be expected, and offer the best insight I've yet to see concerning the various "problems" in HAMLET. Its comprehensive look may be too much for a person approaching the play for the first time, but for the serious student of HAMLET it's essential.