This volume combines two classic works on Hamlet, first published in 1919 and 1922.
The first book's original description says that it contains a theory which attempts to explain an everlasting problem - it insists that Hamlet is neither a failure not an accident, but a very great work of art. In a final chapter, the play is examined as an aesthetic document. It is a profoundly interesting and not unprovocative work.
The second book reviews and attempts to resolve the most interesting debate of any Shakespeare play and presents proper method for investigating the genesis of the plays in this way.
Table of Contents
1. The Case Against "Hamlet" 2. Why Hamlet Delayed to Kill the King 3. On "Hamlet" as an Aesthetic Document. Appendix: Did Hamlet Delay to Kill the King?
Preface Part 1. The Aesthetic Problem 1. Subjective Theories 2. Objective Theories 3. Theory of Defect in the Dramatist 4. The Growth of the Play Part 2: The Documentary Problem 1. The Pre-Shakespearean Play 2. The Old German Version Part 3: Kyd's Probable Construction 1. Superfluous Survivals 2. Was Kyd's "Hamlet" a Double Play? 3. Irrelevant Scenes Part 4: Shakespeare's Work of Transmutation 1. Old Action: New Psychosis 2. The Infusion of Pessimism 3. The Upshot