Customer Reviews for

Hamlet (Folger Shakespeare Library Series)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

18 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

A reviewer

This review is not of Hamlet itself, but rather on this edition of Hamlet 'ISBN: 9781411400344', which was edited by Jeff Dolven and David Scott Kastan. I read a lot of heavily annotated books, and I have to say this is one of the best book designs I¿ve ever encountered...
This review is not of Hamlet itself, but rather on this edition of Hamlet 'ISBN: 9781411400344', which was edited by Jeff Dolven and David Scott Kastan. I read a lot of heavily annotated books, and I have to say this is one of the best book designs I¿ve ever encountered. The various reference materials (footnotes and definitions for archaic words) appear in a manner that makes the text very easy to follow. The scholarship is also top-notch. The annotations give you enough information to make things clear, without insulting your intelligence, or without overburdening you with unnecessary detail. The essays are also interesting and informative. I¿ve been avoiding Shakespeare ever since high school, which was many years ago. Now that I¿m reading him again, I¿m glad I¿m in such good hands. It is making the experience a joy, rather than a chore. My compliments to the editors and the book designer. They have done a superior job of making this difficult text accessible to the modern reader. I wish my editions of Dante and Milton had similar layouts. Highly recommended.

posted by Anonymous on November 9, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Pageperfect font too small/Footnotes on separate page awkward on Nook Color

The font size is the equivalent of the smallest size possible on a regular Nook Book. Since one can't adjust the font size on a Pageperfect Nook Book, that makes it difficult to read.

Also, the 2-page format (footnotes on left page, text on right page) is very awkwar...
The font size is the equivalent of the smallest size possible on a regular Nook Book. Since one can't adjust the font size on a Pageperfect Nook Book, that makes it difficult to read.

Also, the 2-page format (footnotes on left page, text on right page) is very awkward. Footnotes should have been done with popups initiated by touching the subscript number of the footnote. Much more elegant, and might be programmatically similar to the "Article View" pop-up window function for magazines.

Difficult words are translated in the left-hand margin of the text page itself, and line numbers are provided in the right-hand margin. Margins are too wide, which helps explain why the font has to be so small to fit everything on the line.

posted by RobinBaker on December 21, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2007

    A reviewer

    This review is not of Hamlet itself, but rather on this edition of Hamlet 'ISBN: 9781411400344', which was edited by Jeff Dolven and David Scott Kastan. I read a lot of heavily annotated books, and I have to say this is one of the best book designs I¿ve ever encountered. The various reference materials (footnotes and definitions for archaic words) appear in a manner that makes the text very easy to follow. The scholarship is also top-notch. The annotations give you enough information to make things clear, without insulting your intelligence, or without overburdening you with unnecessary detail. The essays are also interesting and informative. I¿ve been avoiding Shakespeare ever since high school, which was many years ago. Now that I¿m reading him again, I¿m glad I¿m in such good hands. It is making the experience a joy, rather than a chore. My compliments to the editors and the book designer. They have done a superior job of making this difficult text accessible to the modern reader. I wish my editions of Dante and Milton had similar layouts. Highly recommended.

    18 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2007

    Great Edition

    There are many editions of Hamlet available, but I have never encountered one as exemplary as this one. The footnotes and margin notes are not overwhelming, but provide the perfect amount of assistance in understanding the text. In addition, the lines are spaced out nicely, making it easy to read. In purchasing an edition of Hamlet, this is the one to choose!

    15 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2007

    A Fundamental Work of English Literature

    Hamlet is without question one of the greatest literary works of all time, and should be read by anyone with a desire to improve his or her mind and attain a deeper understanding of literature. Philosophical, tragic, and even humorous by turns, Shakespeare's brilliantly crafted lines capture the mental torment of the title character with a skill which most writers struggle to aspire to. Personally, I didn't think much of Shakespeare until I read Hamlet, but the play about the Prince of Danes is truly at the pinnacle of his work, and of English literature as well.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2007

    The Greatest Single Work of All Time

    Hamlet is bar none the single greatest work of all time. One has not lived until he has read Hamlet. It is impossible to due justice to Hamlet in a short blurb, but know that if you have not read Hamlet, you are seriously missing out, and need to reevaluate your priorities in life.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 28, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    "Hamlet," in my opinion, is the best written Shakespearean play. The questions it creates about sanity and human nature was pure brilliance. You can almost feel the chaos jump off the page and it keeps you turning the pages till the very end. This play will not disappoint you.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2002

    an outstandingstory and a tragedy

    this is a one of shakespears great play. it has everything in it. friendship, love enemies, etc.

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2011

    Great Play and Edition!

    I had read Romeo and Juliet and Othello before going into Hamlet. Though Othello and RJ were my favorites, I really did enjoy Hamlet. It's very interesting and makes you think about common issues in life such as revenge, and right and wrong. The notes make it easy to understand. Shakespeare is once again, brilliant.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Awsome book!:)

    ?

    1 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2010

    The Most Readable Edition of Shakespeare Yet!

    The Bard after all is the Bard. What is compelling about Burton Raffel's editing is his focus on Shakespeare as heard poetry. As he noted in his Introduction his is a "nonscholarly" edition meant for the student, the actor and the casual reader. The footnotes explain the meanings of words, rather than the nuances and historical contexts that are the domain of literature and specifically, Shakespeare scholars. This is Shakespeare as his actors and his audiences would have heard and understood him. And what a dandy ride it is!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2010

    Not Just for The people who love Plays and The Classics, You'll never know if you'll like if you don't at least try it.

    This is one of my favorates of Shakespire's writings. I originally had to read this for eleventh Grade English and write a paper on it, but I fell in love with the tragedy of it all. The Emotions you get to experience fist hand: Revenge, Dispair, Rage, insest, morral coruption, and lets not forget the all impending Madness! It's an illustrious story!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2009

    An excellent edition of Hamlet

    This review is not of Hamlet itself, but rather on this edition of Hamlet (ISBN: 9781411400344), which was edited by Jeff Dolven and David Scott Kastan. I read a lot of heavily annotated books, and I have to say this is one of the best book designs I've ever encountered. The various references materials (footnotes and definitions for archaic words) appear in a manner that makes the text very easy to follow.

    The scholarship is also top-notch. The annotations give you enough to make things clear without insulting your intelligence, or without overburdening you with unnecessary detail. The essays are also interesting and informative.

    I've been avoiding Shakespeare ever since high school, which was many years ago. Now that I'm reading him again, I'm glad I'm in such good hands. It is making the experience a joy, rather than a chore.

    My compliments to the editors and the book designer. They have done a superior job of making this difficult text accessible to the modern reader. I wish my editions of Dante and Milton had similar layouts. Highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Logic of interpretation

    This is one of the best annotated books of Hamlet yet produced, in my opinion it is superb!

    All the pathos, intrigue and tragedy are explained in highly readable
    interpretations because of the annotations.

    In this day and age, Elizabethan English must be explained to reach a
    broader understanding.

    The essay in this book by Harold Bloom is excellent and appreciated!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    To read, or not to read?

    YES, YES, YES! Read it! It's a great story and the Barnes and Noble edition makes understanding the sixteenth century language easy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The Bard at His Best

    This is, in my personal opinion, Shakespeare's greatest play of all time. The story has so many levels: madness, death, revenge, love, age, etc. A reader/viewer/director/actor of this play has so much to consider it will keep you forever thinking even after the final curtain or final page is turned.
    I personally find the topic of death in the play particularly stimulating. Hamlet's view of the dead is so drastically different than the views of any other in the play (closely followed by Laertes', however). Without spoiling anything I can say that to Hamlet, the dead are still alive in the attitudes and memories of their survivors. This is one of the great causes of his angst towards Claudius and Gertrude at the beginning of the play, before he even knows that his father was murdered. One of my favorite scenes is in the graveyard at the beginning of Act 5 when Hamlet is considering the skull of Yorick. The contrast of Hamlet and the Clown in this scene is so vast and exemplary of Hamlet's attitude. The Clown does not even consider the dead to be human, but dirt, and to Hamlet this is an abomination.
    But I have said too much. Read it or view it (even better, both) for yourself. I hope you will see what I mean.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Personal Review

    The name Shakespeare pretty much says it all for this piece really. The story that has been critically analyzed thousands of times somehow never seems to diminish in value. Of the old classics, this is one of the few I adore.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2009

    Great Buy...

    A great way to really get into Shakespeare's world. Clean, clear print, excellent notes and articles, awesome story, and, of course, the one of the world's greatest playwrights.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2004

    Hamlet: Much Amiss in Denmark

    I don't know if I would like this play any better if it didn't have the supernatural quality to its overall meaning. We can assume that had his father's ghost not appeared to him, Hamlet would have lived a normal life as Prince and heir to the throne. But the ghost of his dead father appears to set the tragedy in motion. Realism is violated with the device of a ghost. Hamlet's goal is to avenge his father's murder. When he starts meditating about that request, he is labelled 'mad' by the family and friends that surround him. Their initial concern is to alleviate the disquiet of his mind. Hamlet expresses the play's theme in his speeches. Something unnnatural has entered his environment, upsetting the sense of personal, social, and political normality, making the play thus apocalyptic, as tragedy can be, and because of which his rational position in life is nullified. What is natural is the principle of the Good. Or, has that problem preceded Hamlet's life and times, so that Hamlet can be called another sorry example of a diseased society? 'To be or not to be': in other words, why continue living if people will not think and behave sanely and rightly? Hamlet turns to philosophizing because of what has happened. After expressing his dissatisfaction, the friends and family who previously had wanted to help him have resolved to kill him. For they are content with the ways of the world and they do not need Hamlet inducing guilt in them. On the other hand, Hamlet still has to get around to the business of killing Claudius, the King, as he was bidden to do. The tragedy lies in the fact that Hamlet stops living as a man integrated within the Denmark society he was born into. And, in terms of fulfilling the theme's requirements, he does kill Claudius in the last scene. The King sends Hamlet to England to let someone kill him there. But because of a mishap on the ship, Hamlet sends for Horatio to come to bail him out. He will return to Denmark. As a fitting correlate to this tragic plot, Ophelia, who is Hamlet's woman, eventually goes mad and commits suicide. If the environment were functioning well, Hamlet and Ophelia could be married and live happily together. Instead Hamlet shuns her. It is a fascinating irony that Hamlet declares in the abstract that he does love Ophelia. However, there is no reason to love Hamlet because the natural course of human existence has been overturned by the present king's foul murder. A sick world is useless, and so is Hamlet's love for a woman, or for anything else, for that matter. Hamlet, moreover, is fully aware of his divine purpose. Conversely, he cannot handle his life as a prince anymore. Laertes, Polonius' son, after returning from France, wants to kill Hamlet because he murdered his father. The king and Laertes devise a specific plan, with a contingency plan, to kill Hamlet when they see him upon return. Osric, a courtier, delivers the news of the suggested duel to Hamlet. Hamlet is game and accepts the challenge, which is couched as a wager. At the end, Horatio, like a true friend, is by Hamlet's side to offer moral support and to tell the tale of noble Hamlet's 'woe and wonder.' The duel takes place rather quickly. Hamlet apologizes to Laertes that his madness was a force external to him, incited by unforeseen circumstances, and, therefore, being a good man, he was not truly responsible for Ophelia's and Polonius' deaths. Laertes responds that he is not listening to his self-proclaimed judgments. They fight with swords, one of which was dipped in poison, and both wind up killing each other. The Queen drinks a cup of wine that contains poison, meant for Hamlet's throat, and she dies. Hamlet also kills the king. In this elaborate death scene, the apocalyptic theme comes to fruition. A reader of 'Hamlet' has to understand from the get-go that any metaphysical framework, as the Elizabethan 'theory of corr

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2003

    A KNAVISH SPEECH SLEEPS IN A FOOLISH EAR....

    When I first discovered Hamlet, my only experience with Shakespeare was 'Romeo and Juliet' early in my english studies at high school. At that time, I despised it!!! But then I found first the movie, staring Kenneth Branagh and I was swept away with the passion, anger, love, hatred, and hopelessness of the script. Since then I've read the book numerous times, knowing many lines by heart. It is fantastic. Take your time when reading it and absorb as much as you can!! My opinion on Shakespeare now?? 'He was a man, take his for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again'.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2003

    The Man behind the Man

    Spectacular. This play is absolutely my favorite work of all of Shakespeares, at least out of the ones I've read. It's definitely a tragic, but I was hooked and attatched to all the characters that was in it. Horatio, although was my favorite. I highly suggest that you read this book/play. It's truly amazing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2003

    A twisted tragidy of a man gone mad.

    Hamlet is my favorite tale. Shakespeare may have droned on and one at parts in other plays but Hamlet was a marvel. Hamlet made us think of our own lives and how just at the drop of a pin we to can fall into maddnesses clutches. Hamlet began maddness as a ruse for vengence but how long did it really take for him to fall deeply into instanity. That question has been asked over and over and that's one reason you should read Hamlet. A truly magnificent tale of passion, betrayl, maddness and everything that makes us human.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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