'What a noble mind is here o’erthrown!' : Two Hamlets or One?



Year of publication 2016
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Just like a number of other Shakespeare’s plays, Hamlet survives in more than one textual version, which differ significantly from each other not only in length, but also in the design and development of the plot, and the delineation of certain characters. The talk will focus primarily on the comparison between the so-called “bad” quarto of Hamlet (Q1, p. 1603) and the “good” one (Q2, 1604/5). Because of the rather unfortunate label “bad”, Q1’s textual authority has been largely dismissed by Shakespeare scholarship, its text being regarded as corrupt and inferior. Most scholars have focused principally on the genesis of this version; only recently, studies have appeared discussing the merits of Q1 as a dramatic text. Instead of focusing on how the version came into existence, the presentation will thus concentrate on what kind of text the First Quarto actually represents, especially focusing on the portrait of Prince Hamlet himself which Q1 offers and which is, in many respect, very different from that of the “canonical” version.
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