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Richard II: The Oxford Shakespeare (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0199602285 ISBN-10: 019960228X Edition: Elibron Classics series

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; Elibron Classics series edition (September 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019960228X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199602285
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 3 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (265 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #516,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"not simply a better text but a new conception of Shakespeare" --Times Literary Supplement

About the Author


Anthony Dawson is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia.
Paul Yachnin is Tomlinson Professor of Shakespeare Studies at McGill University and President of the Shakespeare Association of America.

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

This is one of William Shakespeare's greatest works.
Steven A. Peterson
The text notes that are included with the play are very helpful to understand some of the more difficult language nuances that are inevitable with any Shakespeare.
Curtis Barton
I would like to say, first of all, that anyone can understand and even enjoy Hamlet.
"sepherine"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By David S. Wellhauser on February 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, but in the Kindle edition the footnotes are not activated. Because of this you have to go to the end of the scene/act to look up a word, phrase, or historical data...then there is the issue of getting back to where you were before.

Is it too much to ask for publishers to do their job, and stop producing substandard Kindle books thinking the consuming public will take whatever crap they offer us.

Remember, Amazon allows us to return Kindle books withing a week of purchase. All you have to do is go to Manage Your Kindle and then find where all your books are kept, from there you go to the Actions Tab and select Refund.

If we all begin to complain and return these books then publishers will get the message and begin to do their jobs correctly/thoughtfully.

Again, this is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays but I am NOT going to stand for substandard eBooks anymore.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Maxwell on November 11, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I hated Shakespeare in high school, partly because I could only understand about one word out of every three. Recently -- that is, thirty years post-high-school -- I forced myself to read it again, in the Signet edition, and was dumbfounded at how different my response was. All the difficult terms were explained at the bottom of each page in footnotes. I learned the difference between the two terms of address, "Sir" and "Sirrah," and a lot of other things as well. As an adolescent I asked myself why the hero didn't just kill Claudius right of the bat and have done with it. The reason, it seemed to me, is that there wouldn't have been any play. Hamlet refuses to use his sword on his uncle for the same reason the Indians don't shoot the horses when they're chasing the stagecoach. What a change time has wrought. I guess when you're a kid you don't know the meaning of the term "moral doubt" because so many things seem black and white. It takes a certain degree of maturation to realize that murdering a king because some ghost told you to is a bit morally -- well, fuzzy. For instance, can you be absolutely certain that you're doing it to avenge your father instead of being jealous about your mother's affections? Questions like that, which a thoughtful adult might ask himself, are enough to give anyone pause. It's a fascinating tragedy. Probably the best film about it is still Olivier's from 1947 or 1948, which won an Academy Award if that still means anything. The signet edition is extremely helpful too in providing brief critical essays that review the play from differing perspectives, the Freudian, the feminist, and so on.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Nemo on July 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
There is little need to review the actual text: it is undoubtedly (along with many other of Shakespeare's plays) an extremely influential work of the human mind, and very well may be the best work of literature ever written, period.
The actual presentation and annotation of the text is rather indivdual as well. Whereas most annotated texts of Shakespeare place annotations on the other side of the page, here they are at the bottom. Considering your eyes spend much more time across the lines and down the page, instead of the small amount of time your eyes take jumping to another page, this annotation makes for a very fluid and efficient way of reading. I think this is the best annotation I've ever seen of Shakespeare. The quality isn't just present in form, however: the substitutions and explanations are always accurate and almost never redundant (to the average reader, not the average professor =]).
The introduction by Burton Raffel and the concluding essay by the legendary Harold Bloom only add to the benefits the book presents, and help to understand the book from a wider perspective once your ideas and feelings reconcile with theirs.
All in all, a great product for anyone who loves Shakespeare, literature, or expanding their minds!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jon Chambers on November 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
Having the last word is often an advantage and this Oxford edition of Richard II, coming after its main rivals (Cambridge, 1984) and Arden (Arden, 2002), is consequently able to draw upon more recent research and performance. Its mention of a 2009 Vancouver production of the play (in the Commentary) and its discussion of recent books and articles (in the Introduction) make this volume very much up-to-the-minute. (Interestingly, one such book mentioned, by James Siemon, includes an ingenious interpretation of the allegorical 'garden scene', in which 'bushy' and 'green' excrescences are cut off! Two of Richard's favourites, Bushy and Green, of course, meet a similar fate under Bolingbroke.)

This Introduction is especially strong on the study of history and on Shakespeare's contribution to it. Shakespeare's Richard II is often noted for its conservatism - citizens are called 'subjects' throughout and commoners are much less conspicuous than in source texts. To the Oxford authors, however, Shakespeare's play is radical. As well as being encouraged to judge sceptically for themselves, spectators are made to feel involved in England's past and, from their vantage-point in the playhouse, part of a political community. (But to suggest that the play 'makes the audience a party to the regicide' is, perhaps, to overstate the extent of audience involvement.
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