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Pronouncing Shakespeare: The Globe Experiment
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2007
The title of my review states clearly what I was looking for in this book, and what I had found difficult to extract from the standard scholarly works of Kökeritz, Dobson, and Cercignani. I award this book four stars because it (and it alone, as far as I know) contains (buried in its chatty commentary about the weather, how the author doesn't get nervous before giving lectures, etc.) this simple desideratum. If you've ever felt frustrated that you couldn't find the 2-5 pp. account for Shakespeare equivalent to such easy-to-find information (on a basic level) as "How to pronounce Chaucer" or "The sounds of Italian," this book is a decent remedy. It would have been better (both for usefulness and book sales) for Crystal & Cambridge to have brought out, instead of this diffuse and incomplete large-font-with-lots-of-white-space-between-the-lines book, an even slenderer (but far more detailed and thorough) volume entitled "Shakespeare's Original Pronunciation: A Practical Guide, With Transcriptions." (Perhaps Crystal, because he is not an expert, was too modest to go this route, but the experts have conspicuously failed to provide this for teachers, readers, and actors.) If you want the meat of the reconstruction, actual phonetic information is contained only on pp. 13, 37-41, 47-54, 60-92, 115, 175-181 (and could have been distilled into a five-page handout). The rest of the book will mainly interest theater people who want additional behind-the-scenes commentary on how the production happened (dealing with actors' personalities, what the audience thought, etc.).
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on June 21, 2013
As a drama director I was interested in learning more about Shakespeare's original pronunciation. I feel the author's research was quite extensive and valid. I would highly recommend this book to any drama director from high school to community college who is interested in adding a new dimension to their Shakespeare's plays.
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on November 3, 2011
Just what the book title said: it's about the experiment of OP in Globe.
I liked the author's style: lucid, clear and with humor. The book, among other fascinating things, contains a very clear and detailed explanation of THE question ("How do you know?").
Heartily recommended to everyone interested in the topic.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2007
Anyone interested in things Shakespearian will not be able to put this book down. I was astonished how interesting it was, and informative.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2013
A prolific writer, David Crystal has established himself as the great populariser of modern linguistic history. This book is the story of his attempt to recreate the sounds of English as they were in Shakespeare's day. He has continued the project in other forums.

To this Australian, Shakespeare's pronounciation sounds like cod-Irish with some West country eeh-by-gum. Crystal assures me this is not the case, but I do not have the discrimination to work out the difference.

Crystal never condescends and never lectures: you always feel part of a conversation with a knowledgeable, chatty, and slightly dotty uncle who just wants you to stay for one more glass of sherry while he finishes his story. THis book is recommended for curiosity value if nothing else.
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on November 11, 2014
So Shakespeare's accent was akin to that of the modern west country.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I have enjoyed all of David Crystal's books that I have read. He is an excellent linguist, whom I greatly admire for his ability to communicate effectively to a wide audience of varying linguistic experiences. However, this book is a simple narrative description of a project, not much more than a diary. The linguistic impact of this issue would accommodate one article in some journal, certainly not a whole book. If linguistics is your interest, choose another book.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2006
This book might not be the most inventive from a linguist's point of view, but for those, like myself, who are fascinated with modern Shakespeare performance and the Globe Theater, it is quite enjoyable. A welcome addition to any Shakespeare library.
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