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Richard II: The Oxford Shakespeare (Oxford World's Classics) Critical ed. Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 528 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199602285
ISBN-10: 019960228X
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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.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Critical ed. edition (September 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019960228X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199602285
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.7 x 5.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (528 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nathan Records on December 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am currently working on my MFA/Directing. I directed Hamlet and am now writing my defense of it. I have two thoughts on this third edition.

After going through this edition, from a point of view of the script, I'm not sure I understand the need to update Harold Jenkins's 2d edition. The script itself was easier to navigate in the 2d edition and I thought Jenkins's notes were more helpful. I also disagree with some of what Thompson and Taylor have to say in their editorial notes below the script. That said, I am biased because I used the 2d edition as a sort of "Hamlet Bible" as I directed the piece. Jenkins's notes were extremely insightful and useful. I became very comfortable with it.

On the other hand, this third edition has some different insight into the play in performance than does the second edition, as well as information on casting and music that was not included in Jenkins. Obviously there is much written about William Shakespeare in the world, and this 3rd edition of Arden is probably the most up-to-date resource for bibliographic material (as well as some photos of past productions of the play). Jenkins edition is 24 years old, ancient in the scholastic world's "what's new" when it comes to sifting the vast quantity of material written on Shakespeare and Hamlet.

Obviously, the needs of the theatrical world for playing Hamlet are different than that of the scholastic world (of which I am currently stuck in both). I think Jenkins is more user-friendly for the theatrician while Thompson & Taylor suit the needs of the scholastic better. My final thought is that a scholar/student of Shakespeare will want to have both the second and third editions for the differences they have to offer.
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Format: Paperback
The Arden editions of Shakespeare are the best available. While they cost a lot more than the standard cheap editions, they have so much more. The Folger editions (probably the most widely available editions of Shakespeare) have footnotes that are quite general and never do they have enough. In addition, they really don't have that much extra information on the play--only a small essay analyzing the modern issues of the play. The Arden editions are truly the scholarly editions of Shakespeare. Ninety percent of the time that I have a question on the text, a footnote provides more information. In addition, a lengthy introduction is included. Everything is documented. While at this point I don't care that much about how the quarto version of Hamlet said "no", when the folio version said "so", it's nice to know that if I have a specific question, the answers in there. My thoughts on Hamlet: Don't fret about understanding the material, just dive in. Shakespeare offers interesting plots to the beginners and vivid prose to pick over to the advanced scholar.
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Format: Paperback
I find this very interesting, at least one of the reviewers who gave such a low review not only reviewed this book, but every other book in this Ignatius Critical Series edit by Joseph Peace. In each one, he gives only one star, basially saying the book is a waste of time and money.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark!

Why would someone, keep on reading all the books in this series, and then say that reading them is a waste of time? It just does not make sense! Not only that, but the majority of the book is giving nothing but the text of Hamlet. How can any true fan of Shakespeare give that one star. Just the text of Hamlet alone would make it at least 2 stars.

So it seems to me that there are some here who have a hidden agenda of not wanting me to read this book - not because of its allegedly poor literary value. So the more they protested, the more I was intrigued.

So I got the book, and I am so glad I did! For the first time, Hamlet came alive to me. The footnotes were enough to hep be understand the arachaic phrases, but I was not overwhelmed with them. The editor wanted Shakespear to speak for himself. None of the footnotes tried to persuade you to their interpretations. That was left to the commentaries after you read the Hamlet story.

The commentaries were extremely insightful, looking at Hamlet from a Catholic perspective. And why not? Other commentaries look at Hamlet from a modernist or a feminist perspective. Why not from a Catholic perspective? Again, I do not understand these one-star critics. If they were really fans of Shakespeare, they would be happy to see a book like this that would broaden Shakespeare's audience.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The folks at Arden decided to bring forth all three versions of Shakespeare's revenge (or anti-revenge) tragedy so that those who care can study the similarities and differences between the texts for themselves. I teach many Shakespearean plays and using the "bad quarto" of 1603 in conjunction with the oft used conflated text is an eye-opener for students who get a chance to truly engage in the text when comparing, say, Hamlet's third act soliloquy of the Folio (1623) version with the often maligned 1603 version. As usual, the people at Arden do an excellent job at editing the works. This is an excellent companion piece to the recently released third edition of Hamlet by the same editors of the 1604 Quarto text. A welcome addition to any Bardolators library.
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