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The "Intellectual Backgrounds" and "Extracts from the Sources" sections, both highly praised, remain as germane as ever. Intellectual Backgrounds includes important readings on melancholy, demonology, the nature of man, and death, including works by Peter de la Primaudaye, Timothy Bright, Lewes Lavater, G. Gifford, Michel de Montaigne, and Heironymous Cardanus. Extracts from the Sources provides pre-Shakespearean accounts of the story of Hamlet, reprinting substantial excerpts from Saxo Grammaticus's Historia Danica and Belleforest's Histoires Tragiques.
"Criticism" has been revised to accommodate the most significant recent interpretations of Hamlet while retaining the seminal essays of the First Edition. Twenty-three critical analyses are featured, including those by Samuel Johnson, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Hazlitt, A. C. Bradley, D. H. Lawrence, T. S. Eliot, G. Wilson Knight, C. S. Lewis, Harry Levin, Peter J. Seng, Rebecca West, Arnold Kettle, Margaret W. Ferguson, Jacqueline Rose, and William Empson.
An updated Selected Bibliography is also included.