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Thread: Original Hamlet

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    Original Hamlet

    Hello. My english is not the best, so please apologize, if I make some mistakes.

    I want to buy "Hamlet", written in the original english, which was used by Shakespeare. Most of the books, which I have found on the internet, are rewritten in modern-english. So, I just want to know, if there is any book, written in the original english, which you can recommend.

    I am looking forward to your answers; thank you!

    Greetings
    Max

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    The Gnu Normal Pompey Bum's Avatar
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    Hello Max, and welcome to the site. It's a wise choice to have nothing to do with dumbdowned modern language editions of Shakespeare. He was the greatest poet (and the greatest sounding poet) in the English language, and if you take that poetry away from his plays, you are left with mere subtitles. Why bother?

    One option is to use an ebook. The website Project Gutenberg offers a complete Shakespeare for free. (That is what I use). You can also get the individual plays there (including Hamlet) in ebook format. And in case you are using an Ipad, there is a free complete works available at the App Store, as well.

    But because you are new to English, and because Shakespeare s language is Elizabethan and will be partly unfamiliar, I recommend that you invest in a printed copy with good footnotes. People here have various opinions about which is the best, so hopefully they will offer their opinions on this thread. In my opinion, the one who really knows his Shakespeare here (and his Dickens) is JonathanB.

    Several full editions (and individual plays, including Hamlet) are available at amazon.com. Here is an older LitNet thread in which various options are discussed by site members.

    http://www.online-literature.com/for...ht=Shakespeare

    I hope that was helpful. Good luck!
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 06-25-2015 at 11:13 PM.
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

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    Registered User Clopin's Avatar
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    However, if you get this version I don't think you have to speak English at all!

    So with the courage of a clown, or a cur, or a kite jerkin tight at it's tether

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    Registered User mona amon's Avatar
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    Exit, pursued by a bear.

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    Pompey is too kind.

    A big welcome, max. Did you mean the original text or the original spelling? The spelling is always modernised in modern editions.

    The text is here: http://www.online-literature.com/shakespeare/hamlet/

    Shakespeare meant his plays to be acted rather than read. You might like to get a DVD of Hamlet with subtitles in your own language and watch it with a book of the English text.

    There are lots of student editions of the play with lots of notes. I don't recommend other editions for you, as the notes will probably be just as difficult to follow as the text.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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    Thank you for your answers. I think, i mean the original spelling. My english level has nothing to do with it, it should be a present for a friend of mine. I don't think, he would have any problem with a text, which is more difficult.

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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    Registered User mona amon's Avatar
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    I love reading Shakespeare in the original spelling (in small doses), but I download them from Project Gutenberg. Have you tried Amazon?
    Exit, pursued by a bear.

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    I've seen facsimiles of individual plays from the First Folio on sale at the Globe Theatre bookshop, but otherwise I've not seen original spelling versions.

    Max, did you want original typeface (as in a facsimile) or just original spelling in modern typeface? The link I gave to the Book Depository is of a Norton facsimile, but I haven't seen it other than online. (How do you say "in the flesh" for inanimate objects?)
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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    Thanks to all of you! I have found a version, which corresponds my idea. It's written in "early modern english" without any comments or explanations.
    If I am going to have any other question, I would definitely return to this forum, because you're a great and helpful community. Thank you

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post

    Shakespeare meant his plays to be acted rather than read.
    The notion that Shakespeare was made to be acted rather than read was outdated even in Romanticism, certainly this is true for playwrights as Ibsen or Chekhov, but not Shakespeare, certainly see a performance is gratifying, but to appreciate the complexity of language reading is required. Both are experiences that complement each other.


    I would like to agree with Goethe, who said that Shakespeare was a poet who had the fate of writing in format of plays. Reading the plays is recommended because, stylistically, there is nothing better.

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    I don't doubt that we can only appreciate the complexity of the language by reading Shakespeare and the poetry and language are the principal aspects that make him great.

    I said Shakespeare didn't write his plays primarily to be acted. If he wanted his plays to be appreciated as read, he would have had them published as he did his sonnets.

    I've been told that his audience did not talk of seeing a play of hearing a play. So the words were the primary interest for them. But the words as spoken in a dramatic context.

    This may be why that while scholarly editions of his contemporaries (certainly Spenser) are usually now printed in original spelling, even scholarly editions of Shakespeare (eg Oxford) are in modern spelling, because they may be used as play scripts.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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    The Gnu Normal Pompey Bum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haran Alkarin View Post
    The notion that Shakespeare was made to be acted rather than read was outdated even in Romanticism, certainly this is true for playwrights as Ibsen or Chekhov, but not Shakespeare, certainly see a performance is gratifying, but to appreciate the complexity of language reading is required. Both are experiences that complement each other.


    I would like to agree with Goethe, who said that Shakespeare was a poet who had the fate of writing in format of plays. Reading the plays is recommended because, stylistically, there is nothing better.
    Thank you for your thoughts, Haran, and welcome to the site. I don't understand how reading for style allows one to hear Shakespeare's poetry. Jonathan and I have long disagreed on the issue of stage productions, but only very slightly. In my view, seeing (and hearing) the plays can be a magnificent experience, but one is ultimately subject to the interpretations of performers and director And worthwhile productions are not always available to those of us not fortunate enough to live in London, as Jonathan does. My solution is to read the plays aloud, which aids stylistic appreciation even as it brings the luscious poetry to ear. That, of course, should not disincline one to attend good productions at every opportunity.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 07-01-2015 at 07:56 AM.
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    I wouldn't say Pompey and I disagree so much as have a different approach. He seems to love Shakespeare more than I do - I admire him, ie WS - and his, ie Pomey's, preferred means of experiencing the plays is to read them aloud. And I've begun to do so following his excellent example*. I doubt I'd appreciate the plays so much just acted. Nonetheless, they were meant to be acted. Heaven knows what we'd make of them if we were at the Globe in 1600s - probably embarrassingly ham - but that was how they were written.

    * I'm reading my way aloud through Racine with an English crib and an execrable French accent.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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    The Gnu Normal Pompey Bum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB View Post
    * I'm reading my way aloud through Racine with an English crib and an execrable French accent.
    You need to make recordings, Jonathan, and sell them as audiobooks. Something's got to pay for all these books you buy!
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

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