The name “Ur-Hamlet” was adopted by Frederick Samuel Boas from the German meaning ‘original', referring to a

Hamlet

play earlier than the well-known Shakespeare play of 1600.

Evidence for the existence of such a play appears in two important sources. Phillip Henslowe's Diary for Newington Butts has an entry for the performance of a Hamlet on 9 June 1594. Henslowe does not annotate the entry with “ne”, his code for new. This indicates that an early Hamlet was performed by the Lord Admiral's Men and the Lord Chamberlain's Men who were then resident at Newington Butts. A second reference comes from Thomas Lodge's Wit's Misery and the World's Madness of 1596. He wrote of “ye ghost, which cried so miserably at ye Theator like an oister wife, Hamlet, revenge”. Since, at that time,

686 words

Citation: Owens, Rebekah . "Ur-Hamlet". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 February 2008 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=23524, accessed 21 May 2024.]

23524 Ur-Hamlet 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.