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Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel Interpretation

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This fully annotated interpretation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in the form of a historical novel, presents events from before the play opens, narrates and interprets the dialogue and speeches of Shakespeare’s Hamlet itself, and fills in gaps in Shakespeare’s plot. William Shakespeare’s fascinating yet difficult play of Hamlet is about four hours of spoken dialogue, and covers events that occur over several months. The text has ambiguities in meaning, large gaps between events, and allusions to events that have occurred before the play opens. The play therefore raises many questions. Here, C J Martin explains the difficulties, and makes what seems inconsistent or contradictory as consistent as possible. 675 endnotes are also included to explain Shakespeare's text.


C J Martin has a BA, an MA (English and History) and a PhD (History) from the University of Sydney, and a GradDipEd. C J Martin currently works in the field of Education, and also has a background in theatre.

807 pages, Kindle Edition

Published November 19, 2016

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About the author

C.J. Martin

2 books19 followers
C.J. Martin grew up in Sydney, Australia, and loves dance, music, history, gardening and cooking, as well as literature.

After finishing university, CJ began teaching in universities before moving on to other areas in the field of education and training.

CJ now lives and writes in Canberra, Australia's capital city.

CJ has a BA, MA (English and History) and PhD (History) from the University of Sydney, and a GradDipEd.

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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Profile Image for Todd Glaeser.
739 reviews
May 16, 2018
Received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

While it won't replace Shakespeare, this is an interesting attempt to make a "novelization" based on the script. (In the same way we get novelizations of popular films' screenplays)
406 reviews
May 30, 2018
Loved the footnotes!! This offers a fuller view of the play, though I still didn't feel the same tension or ominousness I find when reading or watching the latter. I won a Kindle edition from a Goodreads giveaway.
Profile Image for Alan Lewis.
385 reviews17 followers
November 26, 2022

Novelization of the Shakespeare play. A good read, Shakespeare's original is still better. Received a complementary copy via #. While not better than Shakespeare's worth the time.
Profile Image for Snapperboat.
5 reviews
August 13, 2017
I think this is the finest, and most useful, interpretations of Hamlet ever written.

Let's start by being frank; as wonderful as Shakespeare's language is, the dialogue form that a play must be written in is just not conducive to being read. Hamlet is wonderful when heard and seen, but a damned hard slog to read. C.J. Martin has expanded on Shakespeare's work and in doing so makes it far more accessible. The work includes the original text, but by placing it into context with descriptive text for place and mood and thought the author has turned the dialogue into prose and allowed it to be read as a novel. Whist there will always be detractors who disagree with doing this to a 'great play', I look at it as being just as valid a method of interpretation as how various film and play producers present the work differently. I found I enjoyed Hamlet far more in this 'novel interpretation' than I ever have before.

However, as well as being a great read in its own right, the author has included extensive footnotes that show that an incredible depth of scholarship underpins the novel. It's clear that C.J. Martin hasn't just 'made up' the expansionary prose but has truly set Hamlet in its proper context. I personally found these footnotes fascinating and ended up reading the novel twice in succession - once as a straight read through, and then once again referring to the footnotes as I went.

Ultimately, I think that 'Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel Interpretation' is a wonderful work of art. Whilst I read it for pleasure, I think that it would be incredibly useful in a teaching context. The prose form makes it accessible for a modern audience in a format that makes a clear delineation between Shakespeare's work and that of the author, whilst the footnotes provide explanation and interpretation of the sometimes archaic concepts embodied in the original play.
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