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"Hamlet" After Q1

An Uncanny History of the Shakespearean Text

By Zachary Lesser

In 1823, Sir Henry Bunbury discovered a badly bound volume of twelve Shakespeare plays in a closet of his manor house. Nearly all of the plays were first editions, but one stood out as extraordinary: a previously unknown text of Hamlet that predated all other versions. Suddenly, the world had to grapple with a radically new—or rather, old—Hamlet in which the characters, plot, and poetry of Shakespeare's most famous play were profoundly and strangely transformed.

Q1, as the text is known, has been declared a rough draft, a shorthand piracy, a memorial reconstruction, and a pre-Shakespearean "ur-Hamlet," among other things. Flickering between two historical moments—its publication in Shakespeare's early seventeenth century and its rediscovery in Bunbury's early nineteenth—Q1 is both the first and last Hamlet. Because this text became widely known only after the familiar version of the play had reached the highest pinnacle of English literature, its reception has entirely depended on this uncanny temporal oscillation; so too has its ongoing influence on twentieth- and twenty-first-century ideas of the play.

Zachary Lesser examines how the improbable discovery of Q1 has forced readers to reconsider accepted truths about Shakespeare as an author and about the nature of Shakespeare's texts. In telling the story of this mysterious text and tracing the debates in newspapers, London theaters, and scholarly journals that followed its discovery, Lesser offers brilliant new insights on what we think we mean by Hamlet.

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Hamlet in His Modern Guises

Alexander Welsh

Focusing on Shakespeare's Hamlet as foremost a study of grief, Alexander Welsh offers a powerful analysis of its protagonist as the archetype of the modern hero. For over two centuries writers and critics have viewed Hamlet's persona as a fascinating blend of self-consciousness, guilt, and wit. Yet in order to understand more deeply the modernity of this Shakespearean hero, Welsh first situates Hamlet within the context of family and mourning as it was presented in other revenge tragedies of Shakespeare's time. Revenge, he maintains, appears as a function of mourning rather than an end in itself. Welsh also reminds us that the mourning of a son for his father may not always be sincere. This book relates the problem of dubious mourning to Hamlet's ascendancy as an icon of Western culture, which began late in the eighteenth century, a time when the thinking of past generations--or fathers--represented to many an obstacle to human progress.

Welsh reveals how Hamlet inspired some of the greatest practitioners of modernity's quintessential literary form, the novel. Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, Scott's Redgauntlet, Dickens's Great Expectations, Melville's Pierre, and Joyce's Ulysses all enhance our understanding of the play while illustrating a trend in which Hamlet ultimately becomes a model of intense consciousness. Arguing that modern consciousness mourns for the past, even as it pretends to be free of it, Welsh offers a compelling explanation of why Hamlet remains marvelously attractive to this day.

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Hamlet in Purgatory (Expanded Edition)

Stephen Greenblatt

In Hamlet in Purgatory, renowned literary scholar Stephen Greenblatt delves into his longtime fascination with the ghost of Hamlet's father, and his daring and ultimately gratifying journey takes him through surprising intellectual territory. It yields an extraordinary account of the rise and fall of Purgatory as both a belief and a lucrative institution--as well as a capacious new reading of the power of Hamlet.

In the mid-sixteenth century, English authorities abruptly changed the relationship between the living and dead. Declaring that Purgatory was a false "poem," they abolished the institutions and banned the practices that Christians relied on to ease the passage to Heaven for themselves and their dead loved ones. Greenblatt explores the fantastic adventure narratives, ghost stories, pilgrimages, and imagery by which a belief in a grisly "prison house of souls" had been shaped and reinforced in the Middle Ages. He probes the psychological benefits as well as the high costs of this belief and of its demolition.

With the doctrine of Purgatory and the elaborate practices that grew up around it, the church had provided a powerful method of negotiating with the dead. The Protestant attack on Purgatory destroyed this method for most people in England, but it did not eradicate the longings and fears that Catholic doctrine had for centuries focused and exploited. In his strikingly original interpretation, Greenblatt argues that the human desires to commune with, assist, and be rid of the dead were transformed by Shakespeare--consummate conjurer that he was--into the substance of several of his plays, above all the weirdly powerful Hamlet. Thus, the space of Purgatory became the stage haunted by literature's most famous ghost.

This book constitutes an extraordinary feat that could have been accomplished by only Stephen Greenblatt. It is at once a deeply satisfying reading of medieval religion, an innovative interpretation of the apparitions that trouble Shakespeare's tragic heroes, and an exploration of how a culture can be inhabited by its own spectral leftovers.

This expanded Princeton Classics edition includes a new preface by the author.

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Hamlet's Absent Father

Avi Erlich

Avi Erlich finds that Hamlet deals not with repressed patricidal impulses but with a complex search, partially unconscious, for a strong father. Much more than he wants to have killed his father, Hamlet wants his father back and seeks a strong man with whom to identify. The playwright presents one ambivalent father figure after another, each an imitation or parody of the seemingly titanic king. Polonius, Osrick, Yorick, Old Fortinbras, Priam, Achilles, Horatio—these are a few versions ofthe father who bequeathed to his son his own ambivalence.

Originally published in 1978.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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Hamlet's Arab Journey

Shakespeare's Prince and Nasser's Ghost

Margaret Litvin

For the past five decades, Arab intellectuals have seen themselves in Shakespeare's Hamlet: their times "out of joint," their political hopes frustrated by a corrupt older generation. Hamlet's Arab Journey traces the uses of Hamlet in Arabic theatre and political rhetoric, and asks how Shakespeare's play developed into a musical with a happy ending in 1901 and grew to become the most obsessively quoted literary work in Arab politics today. Explaining the Arab Hamlet tradition, Margaret Litvin also illuminates the "to be or not to be" politics that have turned Shakespeare's tragedy into the essential Arab political text, cited by Arab liberals, nationalists, and Islamists alike.

On the Arab stage, Hamlet has been an operetta hero, a firebrand revolutionary, and a muzzled dissident. Analyzing productions from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Kuwait, Litvin follows the distinct phases of Hamlet's naturalization as an Arab. Her fine-grained theatre history uses personal interviews as well as scripts and videos, reviews, and detailed comparisons with French and Russian Hamlets. The result shows Arab theatre in a new light. Litvin identifies the French source of the earliest Arabic Hamlet, shows the outsize influence of Soviet and East European Shakespeare, and explores the deep cultural link between Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser and the ghost of Hamlet's father.

Documenting how global sources and models helped nurture a distinct Arab Hamlet tradition, Hamlet's Arab Journey represents a new approach to the study of international Shakespeare appropriation.

Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

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Hamlin Garland

A Life

Keith Newlin

In recognition of his achievements in literature, Hamlin Garland (1860–1940) received four honorary doctorates and a Pulitzer Prize. Keith Newlin traces the rise of this prairie farm boy with a half-formed ambition to write who then skyrocketed into international prominence before he was forty. His life is a story of ironic contradictions: the radical whose early achievement thrust him to the forefront of literary innovation but whose evolutionary aesthetic principles could not themselves adapt to changing conditions; the self-styled “veritist” whose credo demanded that he verify every fact but whose credulity led him to spend a lifetime seeking to confirm the existence of spirits. His need for recognition caused him to cultivate rewarding friendships with the leaders of literary culture, yet even when he attained that recognition, it was never enough, and his self-doubt caused him fits of black despair.
 
The first and only other biography of Hamlin Garland was published more than forty years ago; since then, letters, manuscripts, and family memoirs have surfaced to provide, along with changing literary scholarship, a more evaluative and critical interpretation of Garland’s life and times. Hamlin Garland: A Life is an exploration of Garland’s contributions to American literary culture and places his work within the artistic context of its time.

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Hammarskjöld

A Life

Roger Lipsey

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Hammer and Hoe

Alabama Communists during the Great Depression

Robin D. G. Kelley

A groundbreaking contribution to the history of the "long Civil Rights movement," Hammer and Hoe tells the story of how, during the 1930s and 40s, Communists took on Alabama's repressive, racist police state to fight for economic justice, civil and political rights, and racial equality.

The Alabama Communist Party was made up of working people without a Euro-American radical political tradition: devoutly religious and semiliterate black laborers and sharecroppers, and a handful of whites, including unemployed industrial workers, housewives, youth, and renegade liberals. In this book, Robin D. G. Kelley reveals how the experiences and identities of these people from Alabama's farms, factories, mines, kitchens, and city streets shaped the Party's tactics and unique political culture. The result was a remarkably resilient movement forged in a racist world that had little tolerance for radicals.

After discussing the book's origins and impact in a new preface written for this twenty-fifth-anniversary edition, Kelley reflects on what a militantly antiracist, radical movement in the heart of Dixie might teach contemporary social movements confronting rampant inequality, police violence, mass incarceration, and neoliberalism.

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Hammered Dulcimer

Lisa Williams

Lisa William's poems are infused with what John Hollander calls "a guarded wonder." A poet of unique vision, she seems always to be "looking at," with special attention to the experience of the senses. Moreover, Williams is equally concerned with epistemology—the how of seeing. And it is perhaps this quality of attention that informs her interest in the formulations of poetry itself, in its constructed dimension. Her control of the line, of rhythmic possibilities, of structures both formal and free, is evident in every poem. Together, William's original voice and her poetic finesse allow her to create those harmonies of wonder evoked by the very instrument, the hammered dulcimer, that gives her collection its name. Judge for the 1998 May Swenson Poetry Award was John Hollander, poet, critic, professor. Long a major figure in American letters, Hollander was a personal friend to May Swenson, and has influenced the work of many of our best emerging poetic voices.

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The Han

China's Diverse Majority

by Agnieszka Joniak-Luthi

This ethnography explores contemporary narratives of “Han-ness,” revealing the nuances of what Han identity means today in relation to that of the fifty-five officially recognized minority ethnic groups in China, as well as in relation to home place identities and the country’s national identity. Based on research she conducted among native and migrant Han in Shanghai and Beijing, Aqsu (in Xinjiang), and the Sichuan-Yunnan border area, Agnieszka Joniak-Lüthi uncovers and discusses these identity topographies. Bringing into focus the Han majority, which has long acted as an unexamined backdrop to ethnic minorities, Joniak-Lüthi contributes to the emerging field of critical Han studies as she considers how the Han describe themselves—particularly what unites and divides them—as well as the functions of Han identity and the processes through which it is maintained and reproduced. The Han will appeal to scholars and students of contemporary China, anthropology, and ethnic and cultural studies.

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