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Much Ado About Nothing (Folger Shakespeare Library) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0743482752 ISBN-10: 0743482751 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Mass Market Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; 1 edition (January 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743482751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743482752
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Comedy in five acts by William Shakespeare, performed in 1598-99 and printed in a quarto edition from the author's fair papers in 1600. The play takes an ancient theme--that of a woman falsely accused of unfaithfulness--to brilliant comedic heights. Claudio is deceived by his jealous cousin into believing that his lover, Hero, is unfaithful--a plot unveiled by the bumbling constables Dogberry and Verges. Meanwhile, Beatrice and Benedick have "a kind of merry war" between them, matching wits in clever repartee that anticipates other playfully teasing literary couples. Each is tricked into believing that the other is in love, which allows the true affection between them to grow. Both couples are united at the end, after Hero's simulated resurrection from the dead. In this play Shakespeare eschewed devices of obvious magic or disguise of sex, which he employed in other comedies; the wit and ambiguity of the dialogue and the exquisite pacing of the action sustain the play, which remains popular in repertory. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

John Dover Wilson's New Shakespeare, published between 1921 and 1966, became the classic Cambridge edition of Shakespeare's plays and poems until the 1980s. The series, long since out-of-print, is now reissued. Each work contains a lengthy and lively introduction, main text, and substantial notes and glossary. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

The Folger's edition has text notes that help you understand and comprehend the meaning of Shakespeare's words.
Christopher Davis
Also I would go into reading the book with a good attitude thinking that this can help you because if you don't, like me, you will wind up more confused than ever.
Mrs. Depp
The usage of malapropism adds a humor to the story and it's message unable to be matched by any other character.
Rebecca Henning

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Megan on March 24, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was assigned to read "Much Ado About Nothing" for my block class, and my initial thought was, Oh, how boring. I don't want to read Shakespeare. I won't even be able to understand it. Let me tell you, I was very wrong! This book was excellent- one of the best I've ever read. It contained romance, humor, comedy, and drama- so many diverse qualities that I rarely find in books these days! The main characters, Beatrice and Benedick, add humor and warmth to the book. They argue and insult each other, yet they are really in love. Hero and Claudio are the lovebirds, but the evil Don John tries to get in the way of this with a deceitful plan. Even though this book was written centuries ago, the main themes still apply to today, (such as the Beatrice and Benedick theme). That is why this book is a classic. Oh, and understanding it isn't a problem, either. This was my first Shakespeare book ever (I'm only 14), and I understood the plot, characters, and the theme. I enjoyed it at the same time. So order this book today. You won't regret it!
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Brianna Rhywhen on September 29, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am here to do my part in diminishing the value of all the one- and three- star reviews posted here, the authors of which are clearly the same person or all from the same class of children too young to read the play. Amazon visitors reading these should know two things: the reviewer is a twit, and this play is wonderful.

I, for one, am a sucker for romances; if you are, Beatrice and Benedick will make the play worthwhile. Predictability be damned, they were an adorable couple. The main couple, Hero and Claudio, are boring; the other one will make you swoon. Beatrice and Benedick are funny, clever, and stubbornly reluctant to admit they love each other. To wit, they're perfect for one another.

I have read two contradictory criticisms regarding the language in the play on Amazon: that the language is too simple for Shakespeare's standards, and that the language is too difficult. The latter was from the kid's reviews; for everyone else, the language is not so difficult to decipher that you need to avoid it. The Folger edition, at least, has one page of notes for every page of text, noting both puzzling references to Elizabethan beliefs, such as that sights draw blood from the heart, and language problems caused by the hundreds of years between Shakespeare's time and ours. The editors do all the work for you. You have no excuse. (Oh, and that the language is too simple: Bah. It's Shakespeare. That's impossible. I loved all the double entendres; this play was very witty.)

One criticism I somewhat agree with is that the plot is boring. Hero and Claudio, being the main couple, get much time, and I didn't care much about Don John's vengeance, but at least half of my favorite couple was usually present, and by no means do Hero and Claudio's plot monopolize the story.
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37 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Desertmartin on November 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Claire McEachern's Introduction, notes and commentary on Much Ado About Nothing suffer from the decline in real scholarship over the last few years. Previous introductory materials in Arden edition have always built on the solid scholarship of the past, adding new ideas and research as integrated parts of the growing body of knowledge associated with Shakespeare scholarship. McEachern's abandons most of the valid accepted readings of this play to wander rather aimlessly down the tunnel of self-promoting feminist, postmodern eclecticism. As a college professor, I am dismayed to see Arden turn to such contemporary and popular approaches at the exclusion of real context. The Arden editions have always set the standard, but are now falling prey to the subjective, personalized, even vindictive vents of the academic few. The field of Shakespeare criticism, unfortunately, is in danger of collapsing in on itself, and becoming completely irrelevant to anything other than these marginalized interest. More specifically, McEachern's search for sources for the play becomes a labyrinthine exposé of speculative inference and unrelated texts, ignoring primary sources for a new historicist fascination with the obscure. The tenor of her subjective argument about the play is captured in her overdone attack on Benedick as misogynist and Beatrice's rendering as the shrew. The problem, obviously, is the imbalance here; the feminist objective reduces a complex and humorous interplay to victimizer and victim, both seen from one perspective. Ignoring the historical contexts of the play, she focuses instead on marginal texts that only partially relate to the central themes of the play, to the social context, and to the audience's understanding both of Shakespeare's environs and present-day concerns.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By be happy on April 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
I study Shakespeare in my high school English class, and used to have a hard time understanding it. Then I got No Fear Shakespeare and now love the work of Shakespeare! Some of the words in the original text you would never think that they mean something different or unexpected in the modern text. It also explains some of the puns and humor. GREAT!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Elainne G. on May 2, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I feel it is necessary to dispute some of the prior reviews I have just read. Shakespeare is a magnificient writer and Much Ado About Nothing is no exception. Some people have written that it is difficult to understand his language; however, the Folger Shakespeare Library has notes on the left page to explain vocabulary that modern readers may not understand. These notes also explain phrases that are no longer used such as "civil as an orange" which is a similie (with the orange being a Seville orange) having the meaning of "between sweet and sour".

Much Ado About Nothing is a witty comedy with enjoyable banter between Beatrice and Benedick, an ironical storyline, and humorous characters such as Dogberry whose malapropisms bring a smile to the reader's face.
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