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Hamlet: York Notes Advanced Paperback – 29 Aug 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Longman; Revised edition (29 Aug 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 058278428X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0582784284
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 0.9 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire and was baptised on 26 April 1564. Thought to have been educated at the local grammar school, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he went on to have three children, at the age of eighteen, before moving to London to work in the theatre. Two erotic poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece were published in 1593 and 1594 and records of his plays begin to appear in 1594 for Richard III and the three parts of Henry VI. Shakespeare's tragic period lasted from around 1600 to 1608, during which period he wrote plays including Hamlet and Othello. The first editions of the sonnets were published in 1609 but evidence suggests that Shakespeare had been writing them for years for a private readership.

Shakespeare spent the last five years of his life in Stratford, by now a wealthy man. He died on 23 April 1616 and was buried in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. The first collected edition of his works was published in 1623.

(The portrait details: The Chandos portrait, artist and authenticity unconfirmed. NPG1, © National Portrait Gallery, London)

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From the Author

How this book came into existence.
I have been running teacher-training workshops on Shakespeare for years and was talking to a British Council Conference in Oxford about the highs and lows. I mentioned the sad prevalence of study AIDS amongst A-level students and how hard one had to work to steer students clear of pre-digested responses to the plays, their characters and Shakespeare's methods. A tactful publisher observed to me afterwards that since study AIDS wouldn't go away why didn't I try to write a goodish one to help limit the damage? This book was the result of that attempt: the most author-demanding textbook Lynn & I have written. Pruning seven hundred pages to just a hundred a fifty... What is there? As accurate a synopsis as we could manage, scene summaries and commentaries which attempt to point the way discussion might develop; some preliminary textual analyses for students to build on. We hope this will be a useful workbook for students to access alongside their studies of the play rather than read only at the revision stage (or instead of working the text at all). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Feb 2004
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most thorough study guides on the market, not likely to confuse anyone and particularly well informed on the latest developments in critical approaches to the play though never too dense for the average school student to digest. The scene summaries and commentaries are models of clarity and precision whilst the textual analyses are searching, provocative and incisive. There is an excellent bibliography and useful pointers to websites, films and theatrical tradition. An invaluable introduction to advanced studies and a handy revision tool for teachers pressurised to work on the play at short notice!
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By ambitiousgreeneggs@hotmail.com on 23 Mar 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm studying Hamlet at the moment and due to the nature of Shakespeare's over descriptive and complicated yet beautiful language, it's quite hard to follow and concentrate upon the plot. Though when I got this guide, I easily grasped what was happening and was able to concentrate more on the themes and language etc which you have to comment on in exams. It is helpful and gives lots of hints and info into what you're supposed to be focusing on in the scenes. It gives you ideas and pushes you in the right direction if you are struggling. It even has a glossary to simplify meanings and words. A more thorough understanding can be made from Hamlet and in the end you'll wonder why you didn't get this sooner. For five pounds, it's worth it, if you get an 'a' in your exams.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 April 2002
Format: Paperback
The best aspect of this guide to Hamlet is the careful scene-by-scene summary of the action. The plot seems not so tricky to follow, after all. It's also good to be reminded of the significant differences between the quarto and folio versions of the play. Perhaps the authors should have devoted a bit more space to the really big issue raised by the play: the intermingling of good and evil in human existence. The assessment of Ophelia's character is strangely thin, as well. But it's very helpful, all in all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter Buckley VINE VOICE on 8 April 2010
Format: Paperback
"Whether Hamlet is ever mad, or considered mad, is argued over by critics long and hard. No two performances will convey the same impression of the state of Hamlet's mind after his interview with the Ghost" (p86). Every critic, of course, has a different opinion. The majority appear to concur he was mad, with most favouring the position he intended to feign madness in order to exact revenge for his father's death, perhaps without foresight as to the precise means, but rapidly succumbed to genuine madness as events unfolded. It is unclear what level of insight he had at each stage of the tragic process.
Did Shakespeare intend us to conclude madness became the inevitable result of a pretence on a susceptible disposition? It was always to be a dangerous game, as inevitably a mad Hamlet was at least as dangerous to Claudius as a sane one, and Shakespeare indubitably endowed Hamlet an intense emotional sensibility and keen sense of justice.
"Attempting a mere trifling with personal identity, assuming a little of a character other than one's own, within the bounds of normality, if this has its risks, how much more hazardous must be any sustained effort to counterfeit madness?" (Sir James Crichton-Browne).
As for Hamlets decision to feign madness, there can be little doubt. The skill displayed by Shakespeare may be illustrated in the scene with Ophelia where Hamlet clearly overdid it, this is considered very true to life for those given to malingering (a term still used for those feigning mental illness), as they tend to imitate the extreme. Later, in the scene with his mother Gertrude, we are led to believe he is genuinely mad, or is it that she is going along with the ruse?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sister G on 4 Sep 2008
Format: Paperback
Really great book that can be used throughout A level study or as a last minute revision guide.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. J. Hewitt on 25 Oct 2009
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book on the back of my A-Level English teacher recommeding it to my class. When i found this on here for the price, i thought that it was a bargin!
This book has helped me with what i have needed to know in the plot of Hamlet. This books gives you a glossary of all of the terms that we (the reader) might not understand (language etc...). It also tells you, scene by scene what is happening and why.

This book has so far enhanced my learning for my course so far, and i hope to achieve great grades in my coursework, with the aid of this book! A must if you are studying Hamlet in your English Literature A-Levels!

A great buy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jackie Domingo on 22 Nov 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
York Notes for "Hamlet" are an invaluable guide to the insight of the play, the period in history and the character backgrounds. If, for example the study or essay is comparing film adpatations, Olivier's 1948 black and white film version, the BBC studio production with Derek Jacobi, and the film with Mel Gibson, these notes will provide the interpretation of the text,the psychological profile and the unwritten codes and symbols that are incorporated by the directors in the productions, and why some were ommitted prior to public screenings. Why is it easier to re-create a ghost in "Macbeth" than in "Hamlet"? is revealed in York Notes
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hannah on 4 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is great. I'm currently studying for my higher English as an adult learner. This book has been a great help as I work ridiculous hours and struggle to find time to study. I would recommend schools to use York notes for whatever literature their class is studying. Brilliant purchase.
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