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Much Ado About Nothing (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – August 25, 2009


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Much Ado About Nothing (Modern Library Classics) + The Oxford Shakespeare: Julius Caesar (Oxford World's Classics) + The Three Theban Plays: Antigone; Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Classics
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812969170
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812969177
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for William Shakespeare: Complete Works:

“A feast of literary and historical information.”
—The Wall Street Journal

About the Author

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616) is today's most widely known and loved playwright.

THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY (RSC) is a world-renowned ensemble theater company in Stratford and London dedicated to bringing the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries to a modern audience.

JONATHAN BATE is a professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick. A prominent critic, award-winning biographer and broadcaster, Bate's books on Shakespeare include Soul of the Age.

ERIC RASMUSSEN, professor of English at the University of Nevada, is one of today's leading textual experts on Shakespeare.

More About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1564, and his birth is traditionally celebrated on April 23. The facts of his life, known from surviving documents, are sparse. He was one of eight children born to John Shakespeare, a merchant of some standing in his community. William probably went to the King's New School in Stratford, but he had no university education. In November 1582, at the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior, who was pregnant with their first child, Susanna. She was born on May 26, 1583. Twins, a boy, Hamnet ( who would die at age eleven), and a girl, Judith, were born in 1585. By 1592 Shakespeare had gone to London working as an actor and already known as a playwright. A rival dramatist, Robert Greene, referred to him as "an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers." Shakespeare became a principal shareholder and playwright of the successful acting troupe, the Lord Chamberlain's Men (later under James I, called the King's Men). In 1599 the Lord Chamberlain's Men built and occupied the Globe Theater in Southwark near the Thames River. Here many of Shakespeare's plays were performed by the most famous actors of his time, including Richard Burbage, Will Kempe, and Robert Armin. In addition to his 37 plays, Shakespeare had a hand in others, including Sir Thomas More and The Two Noble Kinsmen, and he wrote poems, including Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. His 154 sonnets were published, probably without his authorization, in 1609. In 1611 or 1612 he gave up his lodgings in London and devoted more and more time to retirement in Stratford, though he continued writing such plays as The Tempest and Henry VII until about 1613. He died on April 23 1616, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford. No collected edition of his plays was published during his life-time, but in 1623 two members of his acting company, John Heminges and Henry Condell, put together the great collection now called the First Folio.

Customer Reviews

The book was in great shape and was an excellent read!
RZ
I very much enjoyed the reading as Shakespeare cleverly envelops his reader into a story of crazy characters and their crazier reactions to love and misunderstandings.
Rebecca Henning
The Folger's edition has text notes that help you understand and comprehend the meaning of Shakespeare's words.
Christopher Davis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Megan on March 24, 2001
Format: 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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33 of 40 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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35 of 44 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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