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The first quarto of Hamlet is radically different from the second quarto and Folio versions of the play, and about half their length. But despite its uneven verbal texture and simpler characterisation, the first quarto presents its own workable alternatives to the longer texts, reordering and combining key plot elements, and even including a unique scene between Horatio and the Queen. This new critical edition is designed for students, scholars and actors who are intrigued by the first printed text of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Although the first quarto has been reprinted many times, there is no other modernised edition in print. Irace's introduction outlines views of its origins, its special features, and its surprisingly rich performance history; her textual notes point out differences between the first quarto and the longer second quarto and Folio versions and offer alternatives which actors or directors might choose for specific productions.
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