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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (1623)
by William Shakespeare
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No current Talk conversations about this book.
-see my "Macbeth" review ( )
What an exquisite edition of one of the greatest works in the Western canon. Armed with an authoritative editorial team, Professor Jonathan Bate has reworked all of Shakespeare's plays, as well as his poems. The footnotes are extensive and cover all meanings of words (including the more salacious ones that many school texts leave out), while also providing informative historical and contextual information.
This edition seeks to give us every word attributed to Shakespeare (although, as it points out at length, we can't really know what he wrote: all of our current versions come from a variety of sources typeset in his later years, and primarily from the First Folio printed after his death. Any work of the Bard's is distorted in some way). With appendices and footnotes, notable textual errors or areas of debate are highlighted.
There is so much to love here. Epic tragedies - Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, King Lear - joined by their lesser, but poetically affecting counterparts like Othello, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Titus Andronicus. Shakespeare plays with and shuffles around comic tropes in his wide variety of comedies: peaks include The Comedy of Errors, Love's Labour's Lost, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Much Ado About Nothing.
In his more subdued romances, Shakespeare often seems reduced to more typical characters yet imbues than with layer upon layer of subtlety: Measure for Measure and The Winter's Tale are particularly splendid examples. Some of the tragedies and comedies aren't as startling, and some are challenging - such as his part-satire Troilus and Cressida - but every work brims with characters whose opinions, beliefs and motives are individual, and not simply echoing those of an author. Beyond these plays lies a staggering cycle of love poems in The Sonnets, as well as his other various poetry which always makes fascinating, lyrical reading.
Capping all this is Shakespeare's incredible cycle of English history, which details the country's fate from 1199 to 1533, through the stories of the English monarchs: their battles, their loves, their lives and the effect their squabbles have over countless citizens. The cycle begins with the somewhat talky King John (far from my favourite work, but well presented in the BBC Complete Works cycle) and ends with the autumnal King Henry VIII. In between are eight plays (two tetraologies) which encompass the Wars of the Roses, and they are astonishing. From the private thoughts of the monarch to the most unimportant peasant, Shakespeare captures an age.
The introductions on each play detail cultural successes over the centuries, as well as basic historical information. I've seen people suggest other aspects that could improve this - such as a suggestion of ways to double parts (this is defined as the "actor's edition"). Certainly, I can accept that, but as it stands this is already beyond a 5-star piece of work. A place of honour on my shelf, that's for sure.
It's Shakespeare - what can I say?
I haven't read this volume all the way through, but have read many of the plays at one time or another.
Two-colums of text, no notes, illustrations look to be black-and-white copies of paintings from various artists.
Taped to the inside I put a Frank and Ernest cartoon: Nice speech, but you don't have that many friends -- you better add "Romans and Countrymen."
Hamlet. Romeo and Juliet. Henry V. Macbeth. A Midsummer Night's Dream. King Lear. Julius Caesar. Othello.
FROM BARNES & NOBLE: Lovers of literature will immediately recognize these as signature works of William Shakespeare, whose plays still rank as the greatest dramas ever produced in the English language, four centuries after they were written. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare collects all 37 of the immortal Bard's comedies, tragedies, and historical plays in a collectible edition. This volume also features Shakespeare's complete poetry, including the sonnets. With this beautiful edition, you can enjoy Shakespeare's enduring literary legacy again and again.
There are moments when one asks despairingly why our stage should ever have been cursed with this "immortal" pilferer of other men's stories and ideas, with his monstrous rhetorical fustian, his unbearable platitudes, his pretentious reduction of the subtlest problems of life to commonplaces against which a Polytechnic debating club would revolt, his incredible unsuggestiveness, his sententious combination of ready reflection with complete intellectual sterility, and his consequent incapacity for getting out of the depth of even the most ignorant audience, except when he solemnly says something so transcendently platitudinous that his more humble-minded hearers cannot bring themselves to believe that so great a man really meant to talk like their grandmothers.
With the single exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely as I despise Shakespear when I measure my mind against his. The intensity of my impatience with him occasionally reaches such a pitch, that it would positively be a relief to me to dig him up and throw stones at him, knowing as I do how incapable he and his worshippers are of understanding any less obvious form of indignity. To read Cymbeline and to think of Goethe, of Wagner, of Ibsen, is, for me, to imperil the habit of studied moderation of statement which years of public responsibility as a journalist have made almost second nature in me.
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Digitale Bibliothek (61)
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Sonetti d'amore by William Shakespeare (indirect)
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The Reduced Shakespeare Company - The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [2000 film] by Paul Kafno
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Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare: A Guide to Understanding and Enjoying the Works of Shakespeare by Isaac Asimov
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Wikipedia in English (13)
Presents the works of William Shakespeare, along with an analysis of the nature and authority of the early documents, a list of the canon and chronological order of composition, an essay on Shakespeare's language, and a bibliography.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)822.33Literature English & Old English literatures English drama Elizabethan 1558-1625 Shakespeare, William 1564–1616
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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.
An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.