SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM (1564-1616). Hamlet, Prinz of Dannemark. Oversat af Engelsk. Translated into Danish by Johannes Boye. Copenhagen: M. Hallager, 1777. 8vo, 155 x 100 mm. Contemporary speckled calf, gilt- tooled spine in five compartments, pastepaper pastedowns, red edges (spine repaired retaining part of original backstrip, lower cover slightly rubbed). FIRST EDITION IN DANISH and the first Shakespeare play translated into that language. It is fitting that Hamlet was the first of Shakespeare's plays to be translated into Danish, since the origins of the Hamlet story lie in Danish and Icelandic oral narrative traditions. It is likely that Shakespeare became acquainted with the story through a French translation of Saxo Grammaticus's Gesta Danorum. Saxo Grammaticus is held to have been the first to write a life of Hamlet (Hansen, W.F. Saxo Grammaticus and the Life of Hamlet, 1983), and is Denmark's first historian. (Bibliotheca Danica: Systematisk Firtegnelse over Den Danske Literatur 1482-1820, p. 379).
"HL" (titled initialled with price); 19th-century inscription on flyleaf and "no. 593".