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Hamlet (Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations)
Here is a review of Hamlet (Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations) by Dr. Chuang Wei Ping:
The 2009 NEW EDITION is a complete surgical replacement of the 1986 critique and not a nip and tuck job. Harold Bloom’s introduction is the only article which remains intact. I compared the 2009 and 1986 Introductions and they are the same, word for word – which invites cynical comment – after a generation passed. The wider spacing of the 2009 book is more reader friendly, consequently less material per page. The language in the NEW EDITION is also easier to read. The former edition was fairly pedantic. Should you have the pleasure/rotten luck of having to tackle Hamlet, having both editions will serve you well.
By setting out the contents of each edition, res ipsa loquitur.
Introduction (same in both editions)
1. Hamlet’s Northern Lineage (Daryl W Palmer) 2006
2. Hamlet’s Theory of Performance (Carolyn Sale) 2006
3. Staging Nothing: Hamlet and Cognitive Science (Amy Cook) 2006
4. Cognition and Recognition: Hamlet’s Power of Knowledge (Lingui Yang) 2006
5. The Tragedians of the City? etc (Paul Menzer) 2006
6. TS Eliot’s Impudence etc (Bradley Greenburg) 2007
7. Translating Hamlet/Botching up Ophelia’s Half Sense (Maria Del Sapio Garbero) 2007
8. Quoting Hamlet in the Early 17th Century (Sayre N Greenfield) 2008
9. Gertrude’s Elusive Libido and Shakespeare’s Unreliable Narrators (Richard Levin) 2008
Introduction by Harold Bloom
1. Hamlet: His Own Falstaff (Harold Goddard) 1951
2. An Explication of the Player’s Speech (Harry Levin) 1959
3. Acts III and IV: Problems of Text and Staging (Ruth Nevo) 1972
4. Tragic Alphabet (Lawrence Danson) 1974
5. Superposed Plays (Richard A Lanham) 1976
6. O’erdoing Termagent (Howard Felperin) 1974
7. Reforming the Role (Mark Rose) 1977
8. Pre-Pepysian Theatre: A Challenged Spectacle (Francis Barker) 1984
Clearly, different viewpoints from different eons. I would not presume to comment on these fine critiques, and if you are still reading my review up to this point, you are probably familiar with Bloom’s compendiums and can fathom what you will be getting yourself into. My personal note is that Lingui Yang’s short treatise was rather profound for my reading level. The foremost duty of the first review (for Amazon, this one) is to point out differences in text between the editions.
The physical book itself is of similar dimension to the earlier edition and so they look nice together as a set, though nothing on the similar looking spines indicates that this is the NEW EDITION. The former Edition with cloth cover and dust jacket looks sturdier than the new edition, which has the artwork printed directly onto the Crystal Coated hardcover. The paper is now thinner, whiter, acid-free, and the new edition does not say that its paper meets Library Material standard. The book is relatively affordable although it is still printed in the USA. If you are not a fan of outsourcing, you may wish to support Infobase Publishing/Chelsea House.
When my attention span was taxed, I occasionally knocked myself with the spines of either book. Believe me, the impact from the older edition was far more painful.