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A Choice of Shakespeare's Verse Paperback – September 4, 2007

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From Publishers Weekly

Admired since the 1950s for the primal force of his own verse, former British poet laureate Hughes (1930-1998) also won praise in his home country for numerous projects of editing, literary criticism and translation, among them this enlightening selection (first published in 1971) of favorite passages from the Bard's sonnets, narrative poems, and (especially) his plays. Familiar and unfamiliar sonnets ("Not marble, nor the gilded monuments/ Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme") mingle with great speeches and lengthy passages, famous and not-so-famous, taken from most of the plays: "Once more into the breach, dear friends" (Henry V), "the great image of authority: a dog's obey'd in office" (King Lear) and over a hundred more. The reissue preserves both Hughes' brief 1991 introduction and his far more substantial "Note" (which follows the main text): more argument than simple explanation, this superb afterward is Hughes at his critical best, showing how Shakespeare's "common language of the highest and the lowest" set forth a "profoundly articulated, esoteric, spiritual vision." (Hughes pursued such ideas at far greater length in his Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being.) Destined for substantial sales as a gift, this compact volume might also inspire readers who already know some of Shakespeare's plays quite well to look at the rest with new eyes and ears.
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About the Author

Ted Hughes (1930–98) produced more than forty books of poetry, prose, drama, translation, and children's literature, including, in his last decade, Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being, Tales from Ovid, and Birthday Letters.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (September 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374122784
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374122782
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sarla sujan on April 2, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is a very interesting to read all the the selected poetic speeches of all the main characters of several of the Shakespeare's play.I have really enjoyed reading it several times.
Personally I have been recommending this book to all my friends who enjoy reading Shakespeare but are not so keen on the plots of several plays!
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