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The Complete Pelican Shakespeare by William…

The Complete Pelican Shakespeare (original 1623; edition 2002)

by William Shakespeare, Stephen Orgel (Editor), A. R. Braunmuller (Editor)

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21,71212961 (4.59)202
Title:The Complete Pelican Shakespeare
Authors:William Shakespeare
Other authors:Stephen Orgel (Editor), A. R. Braunmuller (Editor)
Info:Penguin Classics (2002), Edition: 2nd revised, Hardcover, 1808 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by William Shakespeare (1623)

  1. 71
    Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare by Isaac Asimov (shurikt)
    shurikt: What would a SF writer know about Shakespeare? A lot, apparently. This is a great book to refresh your memory before the occasional Shakespeare in the Park -- if you don't want to read the play again.
  2. 31
    Shakespeare and Co. by Stanley Wells (akfarrar)
    akfarrar: Editor and Shakespeare Scholar - Wells
  3. 20
    The Literature of Renaissance England by John Hollander (MissBrangwen)
  4. 11
    Haunt Me Still by Jennifer Lee Carrell (kraaivrouw)
  5. 69
    Hamlet [BBC Radio Shakespeare] by William Shakespeare (Pattty)
    Pattty: Si te gustó Hamlet seguro te gustará Macbeth, que es una historia buena y mucho más "macabra"
  6. 47
    A Dictionary of the English Language: An Anthology (Penguin Classics) by Samuel Johnson (Voracious_Reader)
    Voracious_Reader: He refers to all sorts of authors, but most frequently Shakespeare.

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I love all things Shakespeare. I have decided to reread the Complete Works starting with the plays that I did not really enjoy! First up:

Troilus and Cressida (5/7/2011) ( )
  kristina_brooke | Apr 15, 2016 |
Contents, in order: Biographical introduction (32 pages); essay on Shakespeare and Bacon (16 pages); the plays, with illustrations; the poems; index to the characters (19 pages); glossary (12 pages). ( )
  KayCliff | Nov 8, 2015 |
Adapted from the shakespearean primer of Prof Dowden ( )
  miroobil | Oct 10, 2015 |
It's Shakespeare ( )
  TheGoldyns | Sep 16, 2015 |
Willie on Will

Of course, everyone must read the great tragedies of Shakespeare.[1]

Other men have been outraged on discovering, as they so often have, the discrepancy between the artist's life and his work. They have not been able to reconcile Beethoven's idealism with his meanness of spirit, Wagner's heavenly rapture with his selfishness and dishonesty, Cervantes' moral obliquity with his tenderness and magnanimity. Sometimes, in their indignation, they have sought to persuade themselves that the work of such men could not possess the value they thought. When it has been brought to their knowledge that great and pure poets had left behind them a large body of obscene verse they have been horrified. They have had an uneasy feeling that the whole thing was a sham. "What arrant humbugs these people are!" they say. But the point of the writer is that he is not one man but many. It is because he is many that he can create many and the measure of his greatness is the number of selves that he comprises. When he fashions a character that does not carry conviction it is because there is in himself nothing of that person; he has had to fall back on observation, and so has only described, not begotten. The writer does not feel with; he feels in. It is not sympathy that he has, that too often results in sentimentality; he has what the psychologists call empathy. It is because Shakespeare had this to so great a degree that he was at once the most living and the least sentimental of authors.[2]

For no one I believe can create a character from pure observation; if it is to have life it must be at least to some degree a representation of himself: I do not believe Shakespeare could have begotten Hamlet, Brutus and Iago if he had not been himself Iago, Brutus and Hamlet.[3]

English prose is elaborate rather than simple. It was not always so. Nothing could be more racy, straightforward, and alive than the prose of Shakespeare; but it must be remembered that this was dialogue written to be spoken. We do not know how he would have written if like Corneille he had composed prefaces to his plays. It may be that they would have been as euphuistic as the letters of Queen Elizabeth.[4]

The astute dramatist presents his subject as early as possible, and if for theatrical effectiveness he does not introduce his principal characters till later, the conversation of the persons on the stage at the rising of the curtain concentrates the attention of the audience on them so that the delay in their appearance increases the expectation. No one followed this practice more scrupulously than that very competent dramatist William Shakespeare.[5]

The great writers of comedy, Shakespeare, Molière and Bernard Shaw, have never jibbed at the farcical. It is the life blood that makes the body of comedy viable.[6]

[The audience] is careless of probability if the situation excites its interest, a trait of which Shakespeare made extravagant use; but jibs at a lack of plausibility. Individuals know that they constantly give way to impulse, but an audience insists that every action must have its cogent reason.[7]

Only idolatry can refuse to see the great shortcomings in the conduct and sometimes in the characterization of Shakespeare’s plays; and this is very comprehensible since, as we know, he sacrificed everything to effective situation.[8]

Let no one think that commercial plays succeed because they are bad plays. The story they tell may be hackneyed, the dialogue commonplace, and the characterisation ordinary, they succeed notwithstanding because they have the essential, though doubtless trivial, merit of holding their audiences by the specific appeal of drama. But that this need not be the only merit of the commercial play is shown by those of Lope de Vega, Shakespeare, and Molière.[9]

An author has the right to be judged by his best work. No author is perfect. You must accept his defects; they are often the necessary complement of his merits; and this may be said in gratitude to posterity that it is very willing to do this. It takes what is good in a writer and is not troubled by what is bad. It goes so far sometimes, to the confusion of the candid reader, as to claim a profound significance for obvious faults. So you will see the critics (the awe-inspiring voice of posterity) find subtle reasons to explain to his credit something in a play of Shakespeare’s that any dramatist could tell them needed no other explanation than haste, indifference or wilfulness.[10]

I don’t know why critics expect writers always to do as well as they should have done. The writer seldom does what he wants to; he does the best he can. Shakespearian scholars would save themselves many a headache if when they come across something in the plays which is obviously unsatisfactory, instead of insisting against all reason that it is nothing of the kind, they admitted that here and there Shakespeare tripped. There is no reason that I can see to suppose that he was not well aware that the motivation in certain of the plays is so weak as to destroy the illusion. Why should the critics say that he didn’t care? I should have said that there was evidence that he did. Why should he have put into Othello’s mouth those lines beginning That handkerchief did an Egyptian to my mother give… unless it was because he was aware that the episode of the handkerchief was too thin to pass muster? I think it would save a lot of trouble to conclude that he tried to think of something better, and just couldn’t.[11]

Fundamentally man is not a rational animal. It is this that makes fiction so difficult to write; for the reader, or the spectator of a play, demands, at all events today, that he should behave as if he were. […] The behaviour of the persons in Othello, of Othello himself principally, but to a less extent of almost everyone in the play, is wildly irrational. The critics have turned themselves inside out to show that it isn't. In vain. They would have done better to accept it as a grand example of the fundamental irrationality of man. I am quite ready to believe that contemporary theatre-goers saw nothing improbable in the behaviour of any of the characters.[12]

The English, whatever they were in the Elizabethan era, are not an amorous race. Love with them is more sentimental than passionate. They are of course sufficiently sexual for the purpose of reproducing their species, but they cannot control the instinctive feeling that the sexual act is disgusting. They are more inclined to look upon love as affection or benevolence than as passion. […] That love should absorb a man has seemed to them unworthy. In France a man who has ruined himself for women is generally regarded with sympathy and admiration; there is a feeling that it was worth while, and the man who has done feels even a certain pride in the fact; in England he will be thought and will think himself a damned fool. That is why Antony and Cleopatra has always been the least popular of Shakespeare’s greater plays. Audiences have felt that it was contemptible to throw away an empire for a woman’s sake. Indeed if it were not founded on an accepted legend they would be unanimous in asserting that such a thing was incredible.[13]

I have little sense of reverence. There is a great deal too much of it in the world. It is claimed for many objects that do not deserve it. It is often no more than the conventional homage we pay to things in which we are not willing to take an active interest. The best homage we can pay to the great figures of the past, Dante, Titian, Shakespeare, Spinoza, is to treat them not with reverence, but with the familiarity we should exercise if they were our contemporaries. Thus, we pay them the highest compliment we can; our familiarity acknowledges that they are alive for us.[14]

One of the minor sages of Chelsea has remarked that the writer who wrote for money did not write for him. He has said a good many wise things (as indeed a sage should) but this was a very silly one; for the reader has nothing to do with the motive for which the author writes. He is only concerned with the result. […] It may be that Shakespeare, Scott and Balzac did not write for the minor sage of Chelsea, but it looks as though they did write for after ages.[15]

[1] Books and You, Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1940, I, 46.
[2] The Summing Up, The Literary Guild of America, 1938, lxi, 229.
[3] Foreword to The Mixture as Before, William Heinemann, 1940, viii.
[4] The Summing Up, xii, 34.
[5] The Summing Up, xxxv, 124.
[6] The Summing Up, xxxix, 145.
[7] The Summing Up, xxxvi, 128.
[8] The Summing Up, xlii, 160.
[9] The Summing Up, xxxvii, 136.
[10] Preface to East and West, Doubleday & Company, 1934, viii.
[11] A Writer’s Notebook, Doubleday & Company, 1949, “1941”, 342-3.
[12] A Writer’s Notebook, ibid., 322.
[13] The Summing Up, xxxviii, 138-9.
[14] The Summing Up, lxxvii, 308.
[15] The Summing Up; xlvi, 174-5; xlix, 188.
1 vote WSMaugham | Jun 9, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shakespeare, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abel, RayIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ackroyd, PeterIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Alexander, PeterEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ball, RobertIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barnet, SylvanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bate, JonathanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baudissin, Wolf Heinrich GrafTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bell, Henry GlassfordEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bell, Henry GlassfordIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bevington, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Black, Walter J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bodenstedt, FriedrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Braunmuller, A. R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brooke, C. F. TuckerEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bullen, A. H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chalmers, AlexanderEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clark, William GeorgeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clark, William GeorgeDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cohen, WalterEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coleridge, Samuel TaylorContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cornwall, BarryContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Courteaux, WillyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Craig, HardinEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Craig, William JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cross, Wilbur L.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dyce, AlexanderContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ervine, St. JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ervine, St. JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Evans, G. BlakemoreEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freiligrath, FerdinandTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, Sir JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gollancz, IsraelNotessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Greenblatt, Stephen J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Greer, GermaineContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Halliwell-Phillips, J. O.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harbage, AlfredEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, G. B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harvey, Sir PaulIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herford, C. H.Joint Ed.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hodek, BřetislavIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horne, R.H.Contributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hudson, Henry N.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, SamuelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kent, RockwellIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kernan, Alvin B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kittredge, George LymanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knight, CharlesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Losey, Frederick DouglasEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malone, EdmondEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maus, Katharine E.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meadows, KennyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morley, ChristopherPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moston, DougIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Orgel, StephenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pope, AlexanderContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pope, AlexanderEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rasmussen, EricEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Regis, Johann GottlobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ribner, IrvingEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, W. J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sénéchal, HéloïseEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schepps, Solomon J.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schlegel, August Wilhelm vonContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simrock, KarlTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sisson, Charles JasperEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Hallett D.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Staunton, HowardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steevens, GeorgeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, GaryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorndike, SybilForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tieck, DorotheaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tieck, LudwigTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warburton, WilliamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warburton, WilliamContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wells, StanleyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, Richard GrantContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, John DoverEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, William AldisDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, William AldisEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in


Hamlet [BBC Radio Shakespeare] by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

Othello by William Shakespeare

King Lear by William Shakespeare

Is parodied in

Has as a reference guide/companion

Has as a commentary on the text

Has as a concordance

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William Shakespeare's date of birth is not precisely known, but it probably preceded his baptism on April 26, 1564, in Stratfordon-Avon, by only a few days.
Publisher's Preface: In the words of the First Folio of 1623, "The Riverside Shakespeare" is addressed 'To the great Variety of Readers.  From the most able, to him that can but spell.'" - Harold T. Miller, President Houghton Mifflin Company
Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.
- (The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2, Line 213)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This work contains all WORKS written by Shakespeare - this is not the Complete Plays only. Shakespeare wrote sonnets and poems in addition to the plays.

Please do not combine both.

Questionable as to whether single volume "complete works" omnibus editions should be combined with multi-volume editions and whether multi-volume editions containing different numbers of volumes should be combined with each other.

Addendum by 1Dragones: The Rape of Lucrece by William Shakespeare is not included in all "Complete" editions of Shakespeare's work... That long poem is included in my single volume omnibus editon but not in my 38 volume set. There are the sonnets but none of the other poetry in the single volume dedicated to shakespeare's poetry in the 38 volume set.

IMO Single volume omnibus editions should not be combined with multi-volume sets and sets containing different numbers of volumes should not be combined with each other. (End of addendum by 1dragones).
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This book's contents include a 90 page, illustrated introduction, 37 Plays, 154 Sonnets and 5 other Poems; Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Lucrece, The Passionate Pilgrim, The Phoenix and The Turtle, and A Lover's Complaint and 30 Appendices. Other material such as may aid the college student in his or her study of Shakespearian literature are also included but not itemized here. This book was written for the beginning to intermediate student of Shakespearian literature.

Note: The above description applies only to the single volume omnibus edited by G.B. Harrison, not the 38 volume set published by Penguin, nor, likely, any other set or omnibus of William Shakespeare's work.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0517053616, Leather Bound)

This complete and unabridged edition contains every word that Shakespeare wrote — all 37 tragedies, comedies, and histories, plus the sonnets. You’ll find such classics as The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing and The Taming of the Shrew. This Library of Literary Classics edition is bound in padded leather with luxurious gold-stamping on the front and spine, satin ribbon marker and gilded edges. Other titles in this series include: Charlotte & Emily Bronte: The Complete Novels; Edgar Allan Poe: Selected Works; Mark Twain: Selected Works; Charles Dickens: Four Complete Novels; Lewis Carroll: The Complete, Fully Illustrated Works; and Jane Austen: The Complete Novels.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:18 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

Gathers all of Shakespeare's plays, sonnets, and poems.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

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