The text of this Second Edition is based on the second quarto (1604-1605), with occasional references to the folio. In order to help the reader place the play in the proper historical context, "Intellectual Backgrounds" includes important readings on melancholoy, demonology, the nature of man and death. Pre-Shakespearean accounts of the story of Hamlet are also included with extracts from Saxo Gramaticus' "Historica Danica" and Belleforest's "Histoires Tragiques". The editor has revised the "Criticism" section in order to accommodate significant interpretations published since the last edition. Among the critics represented are Samuel Johnson, Goethe, Coleridge, Hazlitt, D.H.Lawrence, T.S.Eliot, C.S.Lewis, Harry Levin, Rebecca West and William Empson.