Hamlet Full Text Annotated Bibliography

For other uses, see Hamlet (disambiguation).

Over 30 years ago a renowned Hamlet scholar expressed his astonishment that some 400 works a year dealing with the play were being received at The Shakespeare Quarterly.[1][2][3] The rate of Hamlet studies has increased quite considerably since then. To make any headway in the study of any aspect of Hamlet, the use of bibliographies—annotated, if at all possible—is often necessary. The most up-to-date resource is the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.; their publication, The Shakespeare Quarterly, has one issue per year devoted entirely to bibliography. As to their on-line searching, a search of the keyword "Hamlet" in Folger's web-based catalog, Hamnet (accessed 1/25/2008) returned 2245 entries; the result does not include the number of entries in the library's card-catalog.

Printed bibliographies[edit]

In one sense textual and critical analyses of Hamlet appear in the earliest editions onwards, as they are interpreted in the performances themselves, or unearthed by subsequent scholars, performers, and directors.[4]

  • The first modern attempt at a collation of analyses was in 1877, with Furness's variorum edition of Hamlet. It has been reprinted as:

The following list of subsequent bibliographies is ordered chronologically:

  • A Hamlet Bibliography and Reference Guide, 1877-1935 (orig. pub. date 1936). Anton Adolph Raven. New York:Russell & Russell, 1966.
  • Hamlet in the 1940s: An Annotated Bibliography. Janet Herzbach, ed. New York:Garland, 1985. New York:Garland. ISBN 0-8240-8844-1
  • Hamlet in the 1950s: An Annotated Bibliography. Randal F. Robinson, ed. New York:Garland, 1984. ISBN 0-8240-9119-1
  • Readings on the Character of Hamlet: 1661-1947. Claude C. H. Williamson. (1950). London:Routledge, 2007. ISBN 978-0-415-35309-0
  • Hamlet in the 1960s: An Annotated Bibliography. Julia Dietrich, ed. New York:Garland, 1992. ISBN 0-8240-8990-1
  • Aspects of Hamlet: Articles Reprinted from Shakespeare Survey. Kenneth Muir and Stanley Wells, eds. New York; Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 1979. ISBN 0-521-22228-1
  • Hamlet in the 1980s: An Annotated Bibliography. London:Routledge William L. Godshalk and Marsha Robinson, eds. ISBN 0-8153-1161-3
  • The Essential Shakespeare: An Annotated Bibliography of Major Modern Studies (2nd Edition). 1993. Larry S. Champion, ed. New York: G.K. Hall. ISBN 978-0-8161-7332-7
  • Hamlet: An Annotated Bibliography of Shakespeare Studies, 1604-1998. Mooney, Michael E. Asheville, NC:Pegasus Press, 1999. ISBN 1-889818-21-6

Online bibliographies[edit]

Hamlet bibliography is flourishing online.

  • HyperHamlet is a growing database that links to each word of the text, where possible, critical and intertextual annotated citations ("text" including cinema, plays, illustration etc.), linguisitic notes, texts that "happen to" quote, and additional on-line sources.
  • hamletworks is another project with encyclopedic aims. As in HyperHamlet, the database contains entries detailing the textual and critical history of every line of the play. Currently on the website is commentary from some 40 editions of Hamlet collated for every line of the play. The site also has facsimiles of promptbooks and editions from the 17th century on. Also available are the complete texts of Hamlet Studies (Vols. I-XXV, 1979-2003).
  • Hamlet on the Ramparts is devoted only to two scenes of the play, I:4-5. It has numerous sections on what goes into analyisis, facsimiles of some 18th-century editions, and a viewer with which two sets of material can be viewed on the same screen. For example, a modern text can be split-screened with a Quarto, or two Quartos can be compared, or any of these texts can be coordinated with illustrations or screen clips of the respective lines.
  • Hamlet Haven covers in detail material published between 1991 and 2001, with sections that focus on the major characters; popular subjects e.g., music, law, friendship; and theoretical approaches (e.g. reception theory, new historicism, queer theory).
  • Hamlet Online is a relatively small (relative to the above three) and eclectic site with Web links on the play.
  • A bibliography of studies on Ophelia is available (accessed 02/02/08)


See also[edit]

  1. ^Hamlet, Harold Jenkins, ed. The Arden Shakespeare, Second Series. New York:Methuen, 1982; 2nd. ed., 1997. ISBN 0-416-17920-7 Hereafter, Jenkins.
  2. ^The Shakespeare Quarterly. World Shakespeare Bibliography (Annual publication, 1950-present), Washington, D. C.: Folger Shakespeare Library
  3. ^For an appraisal of the rise of the bibliographic corpus until the mid-1960s, see Jenkins, Harold. "Hamlet: Then Til Now." Shakespeare: Then Till Now. Shakespeare Survey XVIII. Allardyce Nicoll, ed. Cambridge University Press, 1965.
  4. ^For a list of printed editions, see Hamlet, ed. Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor. The Arden Shakespeare, Third Series. London:Thompson Learning (2006), pp. 571-575. ISBN 1-904271-33-2


The World Wide Web is not the place to look for scholarly papers on Hamlet. With a few possible exceptions, such as and The Undiscovered Country, most Hamlet pages do not contain much serious research on the play. Rather than surfing through the sporadic sampling of the Hamlet papers available online, consult your library, which, while smaller than the Internet in holdings, will likely contain more quality commentary on Hamlet. In addition to the library catalog and general bibliographies in the humanities (such as Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature, Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, Year's Work in English Studies), here are some bibliographic reference works which index papers on Hamlet.

Two things to keep in mind:

  1. It is recommended and efficient to ask your librarian if you need help locating information.
  2. Many of the papers on Hamlet may not be available at your library, so plan ahead if you need to use an interlibrary loan service to obtain the articles.
Shakespeare Quarterly: World Shakespeare Bibliography (Annual publication, 1950-present), Washington, D. C.: Folger Shakespeare Library.
Authoritative source for searching for publications on Hamlet and Shakespeare
     As well as holding the largest collection of Shakespeare's works, the Folger Shakespeare Library publishes the journal Shakespeare Quarterly. Each year the Shakespeare Quarterly produces a bibliography issue containing the most comprehensive listing of published works on Shakespeare. The bibliography is divided into several categories, and even the Hamlet section is further classified into categories such as such as editions, translations, criticisms, and music. Many of the records also include brief abstracts. A large index to the bibliography makes it possible to look up authors, actors, dramatists, and descriptive terms. A compilation of several year's bibliographies is also available on CD-ROM.
The Essential Shakespeare: An Annotated Bibliography of Major Modern Studies (2nd Edition, 1993), by Larry S. Champion, New York: G.K. Hall.
Large and well-annotated Shakespeare bibliography
     Larry Champion's annotated bibliography is one of the largest single volume sources for writings on Shakespeare. Each entry contains a well-written abstract, which is both informative and concise. Within the Hamlet section, there are categories of reference works, editions, textual studies, criticism, and stage history. The index to the bibliography can also be used to look up records in other categories. This is a good reference book to browse for an overview of the scholarly publications on Shakespeare.
Shakespeare Survey: An Annual Survey of Shakespearean Study and Production (Annual publication, 1948-present), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Arranged bibliographic essays on Shakespeare scholarship
     Shakespeare Survey is a yearly publication that contains essays on a particular theme in Shakespeare. Each volume also contains bibliographic essays that summarize and evaluate recent publications in Shakespearean studies. These volumes can be useful if they cover a particular topic you are interested in, and also provides a scholarly summary and reading of the past and current Shakespeare publications.

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