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The Tragedy of Hamlet

by

William Shakespeare

with notes, extracts from the old
"Historie of Hamblet" and selected
criticism on the play by John Hunter

London : Spottiswoode, 1874

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PREFACE.

THE legend of Amleth, or Hamlet, is first met with in the Third and Fourth Books of the

History of Denmark,' written in Latin by Saxo Grammaticus, a native of Elsinore, about the end of the twelfth century, but not printed till 1514. About fifty years after the publication of Saxo's :

istory, Belleforest, in a French collection of wtories, called "Histoires Tragiques,' introduced that of Amleth, in a form pretty nearly corresponding to the Danish historian's account, leaving out a few gross and absurd details, and considerably amplifying some of the sentimental portions ;. but presenting, like the original, a very poor treasury of incident and thought for the purposes of dramatic adaptation. From the

Histoires Tragiques,' an English translation, called the Historie of Hamblet,' was made before the close of the sixteenth century, but the only perfect copy of it known to exist is a black-letter quarto, bearing the date of 1608, and now in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge. A modern eprint of it (1841) will be found in J. P. Collier's Shakspeare's Library.'

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