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Chapter 1

Hamlet Q&A

Hamlet Timeline

Hamlet Links

About the Author

Links for Readers of The Undiscovered Country

Hamlet (and Other Shakespeare) Texts. Modern-spelling and original editions in text and facsimile formats.

Other Primary Documents. Saxo Grammaticus, Belleforest, 1559 Book of Common Prayer, Jephthah ballad, etc.

Calendar Articles and Sites. Information on Julian/Gregorian calendars, plus calendar calculators and generators.

The Critics on Hamlet’s Age. What nineteenth- and early twentieth-century critics had to say.

Calendar-Related Hamlet Articles. Plus astronomy-related links.

Miscellaneous Other Stuff.
Hamlet (and Other Shakespeare) Texts
For viewing, printing, and searching

1914 Oxford Text on Bartelby.com.The best modern-spelling text freely available on the web. It's not as good as more recent edited texts, but it is freely available, well formatted in HTML, and searchable. Most of the hyperlinked line references in The Undiscovered Country are to this text.

Searching the Oxford Text: The Bartelby.com search engine returns a list of acts containing the search words. Click on one of those links and up comes the text for that act, with search words highlighted. Hint: If you want to search within a play rather than the complete works, enter a search like "hamlet and death" or "othello and blood".

Full Text of Folios and Quartos at Internet Shakespeare Editions. A treasure trove if you want to see transcripts and facsimiles of the texts as printed in the earliest published editions. Includes the First Quarto, Second Quarto, and First Folio versions of Hamlet.

Linked Enfolded Hamlet at Hamletworks.org. (Click Browse Hamletworks then Linked Enfolded Hamlet.) The First Folio and Second Quarto texts conflated into one document. Brilliant stuff. Red text is F1, Green text is Q2. Various viewing options (F1 w/ Q2 variants, Q2 w/ F1 variants, etc.) It's understandable why they didn't try to layer in Q1 as well, but it would be nice... Click any line number to see centuries of commentary on that line.

Furness Shakespeare Library Facsimiles.You can view the whole First Folio as scanned images, page by page. Kind of a wacky site interface, but you'll find the Hamlet pages from the Folio here. Facscimiles of other Hamlet editions are here as well, but unfortunately not the First or Second Quarto.

Other Primary Documents

Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum. The relevant section, with the "Amleth" story, is translated on this site.

Belleforest's Histoires Tragique. The English translation (1608 edition) of his Hystorie of Hamblet.

1559 Book of Common Prayer. Of special interest to readers of The Undiscovered Country is the Table and Kalendar for Psalms & Lessons.

Burghley's “Precepts to His Son.” The full text, often cited as a source for Polonius's “neither a borrower nor a lender be” advice to Laertes. (1.3.82)

John Shakespeare’s spiritual last will and testament. This document, in which Will’s father John attests to his Catholic faith, was discovered between the tiles and the rafters of Shakespeare’s Henley Street house in 1757.

Calendar Articles and Sites

Ken Collins' calendar pages. Learn about Gregorian versus Julian calendars, and calculate Easter for any year using either system. Unfortunately the Julian calculator (the one that works for England and Denmark in Shakespeare's day) only gives Eastern Orthodox holy days, not Western (Catholic, Protestant, Anglican) holy days. So some deduction is required.

Timeanddate.com. Create monthly calendars for any period, Julian or Gregorian. In particular check out the Calendar Customizer. For your convenience: a printable six-month calendar for September 1601 through February 1602 in England and Denmark (Julian).

"John Dee and the English Calendar: Science, Religion, and Empire" Robert Poole's excellent article on the Gregorian-versus-Julian calendar controversy in England in 1582 and 1583.

Calendar FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).Way more than you ever wanted to know about calendars.

Julian to Gregorian Calendar Conversion. A table detailing the dates on which various countries switched over.

The Critics on Hamlet's Age
Discussions from the nineteenth and early twentieth century that have entered the public domain. For key quotations from twentieth-century commentators, see Chapter 1 and Appendix A.

Furness Variorum. (1877) Howard Horace Furness's four-page (!) footnote on Hamlet's age, citing, quoting from, and commenting upon his predecessors.

W. Minto's Examiner (March, 1875) and Academy (December, 1875) articles. The full text of the articles referred to by Furness.

A. C. Bradley's Shakespearean Tragedy. (1903) His long note on Hamlet's age, plus mentions in Lecture III and Lecture IV.

Harley Granville-Barker's footnote on the gravedigger's thirty-year lines.

Calendar- and Astronomy-Related Hamlet Articles, Etc.

Harley Granville-Barker's Preface to Hamlet. (1936) The first careful discussion (that I've found) of the play's "time structure."

Steve Sohmer. His articles on Hamlet, Lear, and Caesar are the most ambitious and detailed discussions I've seen of the calendar in Shakespeare's plays. They formed an essential springboard for The Undiscovered Country (especially Chapter Two, “Abstract and Brief Chronicles of the Time.”) Also available in collected and revised form in his book, Shakespeare's Mystery Play.

"Hamlet's Transformation." (1999) Peter Usher's very convincing article proposing an allegorical representation, in Hamlet, of the debate between the finite (Copernican) and infinite (Thomas Diggesian) views of the universe. Published in various versions (i.e. "Hamlet and the Infinite Universe") in various places; this is the most complete version I've found.

"The Stars of Hamlet." (1998; $2.95 fee to purchase article.) The authors of this Sky and Telescope article propose that Bernardo's star (1.1.48) is the supernova of 1572 discussed by Brahe and Digges.

Skychart Astronomy Software. A fully functional demo version is available for download. Mac and Windows. You can load this Hamlet Settings file to go straight to London, just after midnight on November 2.

Miscellaneous Other Stuff

"The Croaking raven doth bellow for revenge." A discussion of an obscure allusion in Hamlet, one that manages to crack four jokes at once.
Marcus Manilius’s Astronomicon. From Shakespeare’s reading list? This passage has remarkable correlations to Shakespeare and to Hamlet. Evidence for Bernardo's star being Alderamin, in Cepheus.

Hamlet the Student? Royals and nobles of Shakespeare’s day, and when they attended university.

Does “Sixeteene” mean “Sexton” or “Sixteen”? Usages of “sixeteene” from Shakespeare’s day.