Gift Guide

Understanding Hamlet: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $13.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 74%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (6) from $13.00   
  • New (3) from $54.51   
  • Used (3) from $13.00   


Shakespeare's Hamlet, regarded by many as the world's most famous play by the world's most famous writer, is one of the most complex, demanding, discussed, and influential literary texts in English. As a means of access to this play, this unique collection of primary materials and commentary will help student and teacher explore historical, literary, theatrical, social, and cultural issues related to the play. In an approach unique for this series, Corum guides the reader through a literary analysis of Hamlet's options. He examines the popular theatres of the day in which Shakespeare and his company first produced Hamlet and discusses the genre of tragedy in which it is written. Through judicious selection of primary historical documents, the work provides contexts for understanding Hamlet's melancholy, the ghost of Hamlet's father, the theme of revenge, and Hamlet's feigned madness. Chapters on Gertrude and Ophelia illuminate these characters in the context of the play and early modern English culture.

Each chapter contains a variety of materials, many of which are not readily available elsewhere: essays, poems, histories, treatises, official documents, stories, religious tracts, homilies, memoirs, engravings, village records, and fifteen illustrations. An explanatory introduction precedes each document. Each chapter concludes with study questions, topics for written and oral exploration, and a list of suggested readings. This casebook will enrich the reader's understanding of the play and the context in which it was written.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Offers a wealth of source documents to provide the high school or undergraduate student with a historical context for understanding the major themes of Shakespeare's best known play. Discusses the significance of public theaters such as the Globe, and of the genre of tragedy, in the Elizabethan era; presents a literary analysis of Hamlet's options in the play; discusses the prevalence of suicide in Elizabethan England; examines contemporary attitudes toward ghosts; and considers Gertrude and Ophelia from perspectives other than Hamlet's own. A valuable tool for reaching new understandings of a familiar work. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

RICHARD CORUM teaches English at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 Method and Social Geography 1
2 Theatre and Tragedy 17
3 Literary Analysis: Hamlet's Options 45
4 Man, Melancholy, and Suicide 95
5 Enter Ghost ... Exit Ghost 113
6 Revenge (,) the Crime 139
7 Antic Dispositions: The Hero as Fool 165
8 Gertrude, Thy Name Is Woman 183
9 Over Ophelia's Dead Body 219
Conclusion 249
Index 263
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)