William Shakespeare; Fully annotated, with an Introduction, by Burton Raffel; With an essay by Harold Bloom
September 10, 2003
288 pages, 5 x 7 3/4
One of the most frequently read and performed of all stage works, Shakespeare’s Hamlet is unsurpassed in its complexity and richness. Now the first fully annotated version of Hamlet makes the play completely accessible to readers in the twenty-first century. It has been carefully assembled with students, teachers, and the general reader in mind.
Eminent linguist and translator Burton Raffel offers generous help with vocabulary and usage of Elizabethan English, pronunciation, prosody, and alternative readings of phrases and lines. His on-page annotations provide readers with all the tools they need to comprehend the play and begin to explore its many possible interpretations. This version of Hamlet is unparalleled for its thoroughness and adherence to sound linguistic principles.
In his Introduction, Raffel offers important background on the origins and previous versions of the Hamlet story, along with an analysis of the characters Hamlet and Ophelia. And in a concluding essay, Harold Bloom meditates on the originality of Shakespeare’s achievement. The book also includes a careful selection of items for “Further Reading.”
Burton Raffel is Distinguished Professor of Arts and Humanities Emeritus and professor of English emeritus, University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Among his many edited and translated publications are Poems and Prose from the Old English, Cligès, Lancelot, Perceval, Erec and Enide, and Yvain, all published by Yale University Press. Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University and Berg Professor of English at New York University, is the author of many books, including The Western Canon, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, and Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?
"This timely edition glosses Shakespeare’s words which regularly stump students but which their overly optimistic teachers never notice. This is an edition for the students we actually teach, students for whom Early Modern English is a foreign language. Extremely useful and welcome."—D.E. Richardson, The University of the South (Sewanee)
"If any work deserves a student’s closest attention, it is Hamlet. Burton Raffel’s fully annotated edition is a teacher’s and student’s dream: the words are fully explained, and they get a wonderful essay by Harold Bloom as well."—George Soule, Carleton College
"In a market glutted with editions of Shakespeare, this one stands out. The notes are helpful but not overwhelming, making it a great choice for classroom instructors and independent readers alike."—Kathryn Levesque, Choate Rosemary Hall
“This edition is an invaluable resource for teachers and students who want to do justice to the complexity of the play’s language.”—Tanya Pollard, Assistant Professor of English, Montclair State University