This introductory chapter first sets out the focus of the book, which is to search for an answer to a critical issue: does Prince Hamlet have a self-constituting sense of self? It then presents an overview of the three parts of the book. Part I unfolds the contemporary academic drama surrounding the critical issue. Part II is set in the more distant past, its players drawn from Shakespearian critics of the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries. Part III opens with a sense of the high stakes and long vistas that lie behind the controversies of self. Hamlet, the Prince, and Hamlet, the play, now take centre stage.
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