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Four Great Comedies: The Taming of the Shrew; A Midsummer Night's Dream; Twelfth Night; The Tempest (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1998

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Four Great Comedies: The Taming of the Shrew; A Midsummer Night's Dream; Twelfth Night; The Tempest (Signet Classics) + Four Great Tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth (Signet Classics) + The Merchant of Venice (Signet Classics)
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Revised edition (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451527313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451527318
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,595 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By moongirl on May 1, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's a good book. It has an easy-to-read layout with round and readable type faces. Unlike many other Shakespeare books, it shows the names of characters in full without abbreviations so that you don't have to memorize the abbreviations or keep on guessing who's speaking at a given time. It also has nice space between each character's speech so that things are not crammed up to save space. It's easier on the eyes.
The book also comes with nice, succinct footnotes that explain what words mean in modern English without getting too technical or scholarly. It's a good book that's easy to use, readable, inexpensive and not so academical while providing good information. So, I'm happy with it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Digital Puer on September 3, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rather than commenting about the plays themselves, I'm writing about this particular edition. Signet produces good editions of Shakespeare's plays. The footnotes are numerous, and the footnote mark in the body of the text is not intrusive (they use a superscripted 'o' instead of a number). The paper quality is good, and the font is quite clear.
This collection of four of the Bard's comedies is a very cost-effective way of getting four books for a lower price than if you bought them separately. It includes a 17-page scholarly introduction that's focused specifically on the four comedies here. The comedies then follow, with no intermediary text.
One thing that is missing is the nice introductory 50-page biographical sketch of the Bard found in other Signet Shakespeare books. I also have the Signet editions of Romeo & Juliet and Othello, and both of those have the same 50-page introduction. I do not know if the individual editions of these four comedies have the same, but I would think so. Hence, if you already have another Signet edition of any of the Bard's plays with that introduction, the omission of it here won't be a big deal at all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By amber on March 9, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is one of the best shakespeare books that i have seen. It offers clear interpretations of language that is uncommon in our time, often giving several differing interpretations which are still being debated by language experts. It is simple enough for a first time shakespeare reader, yet still retains all of the content. However, constantly looking at the footnotes, some of which can take up a fourth of a page, grows tiresome, which is why the book only gets 4 stars.
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Four Great Comedies: The Taming of the Shrew; A Midsummer Night's Dream; Twelfth Night; The Tempest (Signet Classics)
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