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Othello (Arden Shakespeare: Third Series) Paperback – October 24, 1996

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Editorial Reviews


“Honigmann's extensive knowledge illuminates this play at every turn, making this the best edition of Othello now available.” ―Brian Vickers, Review of English Studies

About the Author

E. A. J. Honigmann is the author of more than a dozen books on Shakespeare and his contemporaries, including Shakespeare: Seven Tragedies: The Dramatist's Manipulation of Response, and Myriad-Minded Shakespeare. He has taught as a lecturer at Glasgow University, as a Fellow of the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon (Birmingham University), as Joseph Cowen Professor of English Literature in the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and in Canada and the United States. His The Texts of 'Othello' and Shakespearian Revision is a companion volume to this Arden edition.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 442 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare; 3rd edition (October 24, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903436451
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903436455
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,681 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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
This edition is from the 3rd Arden Series and may have a more modern feel to readers than the previous series did. For example, modern scholars believe that Shakespeare's plays were performed without break between scene and act so this edition does away with the ACT I Scene 2 headings and instead merely inserts 1.2 in the text where the change occurs.
There is a fine introductory essay that gives important cultural information to help the reader understand the moral climate in Venice in Shakespeare's time and the context of the play in the author's career and times.
This edition has the many good notes one expects from Arden editions. The longer notes are moved to the back to avoid too great an interruption to the readability of the text. There is also music for the two songs in the play and an index.
A fine edition that I am glad to own and refer to.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ryan P. Hilderbrand on June 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have never intently read Shakespeare before, but enough people told me that I needed to read "Othello" that I decided to break down and buy a copy. Everything about Shakespeare I find intimidating, so with much trepidation did I buy this critical edition of "Othello". Needless to say, this work is AMAZING. Not only does Dr. Honigmann give notes along the way to help the reader interpret what the characters are saying, but he also provides an extensive introduction outlining Shakespeare's sources, some possible motives, and some character criticism. He also provides one of Shakespeare's main sources, a short story written by Giraldi Cinthio, and in this short story he provides notes that link it directly to the text of "Othello". I am completely sold on "The Arden Shakespeare" series, and will continue to use it in the future. A definite buy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Damon Timm on March 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
The play "Othello" is magnificant, and there are plenty of reviews to attest to that. This reviewer wants to point out greatness of the publisher and editor in this case (referring to the Arden Shakespeare). After buying Arden's "Henry V" publication a year ago, I have become a devout fan.
I will never buy Shakespeare from another publisher. While these books may be slightly more expensive than a "mass market" edition, I believe that if you are going to take the time to read and understand Shakespeare, it is well worth the extra dollar or two. The Introduction, the images, and plethora of footnotes are irreplaceable and nearly neccessary for a full understanding of the play (for those of us who are not scholars already). I recommend that you buy ALL of Shakespeare's work from Arden's critical editions.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
Shakespeare's play, "Othello" is usually recognized as one of his "great" tragedy's (with Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth). It certainly has a quite exciting plot and great poetry. If you have not yet had an oportunity to read this great work, I recomend it strongly. It is still an intelligent treatment of race, family and civic duty, and sex. It also has one of the most interesting bad guys around - Iago.
I read it in the Arden edition, edited by Honigmann. Honigmann argues that Othello has a strong claim at being Shakespeare's greatest tragedy and makes a strong case for the work. He has a good introduction that gives a quite balanced and clear overview on many topics regarding this play, from the "double" time method Shakespeare uses, overviews of the various characters, as well as a the stage history. Amazingly, he can be remarkably balanced, even when he is talking about his own views. While he is a decent writer, Shakespeare is better... In the text itself, he gives quite ample footnotes to help explain the language, why he picked particular readings, as well as where themes came from...
Like all scholarly Shakespeare editions, the notes are in danger of overloading the text. This reader, however, recognizes the distance between myself and Shakespeare and so I find it comforting to be able to look at the notes when I have questions. At times his "longer notes" were awkward, but there is no easy way to handle this amount of material.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rocco Dormarunno on April 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
I have just completed a review of the Othello (Folger Shakespeare Library) in which I discuss how much my students enjoy and appreciate that edition. The Arden edition, however, is the one that I love. This edition is for me.

The footnoting and explications are more abundant and detailed. What other reviewers have considered unnecessary, I consider interesting and provocative. Perhaps my students would have been distracted and, worse, discouraged by the extensive references but I use them for possible discussion points in class. In private, I relish almost all of it.

It is also sturdy and the binding has yet to crack. Considering how often I refer to this edition, that's pretty remarkable!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had to buy this book for my English class, but I really liked it.
I had read the story before in high school, but this version was great for me at the university because it helped me understand things I wouldn't have gotten on my own.

The play is annotated with explanations and definitions so that as you read it you can understand what it is you're reading. Experienced Shakespeare readers may not appreciate this as much as I did, but I think it is incredibly useful. Moreover, the foreword and the appendices are very informative! They contain a lot of historical and background information that is helpful when trying to understand the context of this play.
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