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Richard II: The Oxford Shakespeare (Oxford World's Classics) 1st Edition

352 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199602285
ISBN-10: 019960228X
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Editorial Reviews


"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.

Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 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 (352 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493,836 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

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Drew Dara-Abrams on April 6, 2000
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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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Michael Guttentag on June 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
An excellent version of the play, a balanced and comprehensive introduction, and extended notes about subjects of controversy or interest -- if you want to buy a copy of Hamlet this is the edition to get.
Most people have not read many versions of the play; nor have many people read most of the hundreds of books and articles on this play. For whatever strange reason, i have made it through much of the Hamlet criticism. And, i think i can fairly recommend this edition.
As you may or may not know, there are essentially three different versions of the play that have survived, the first (or bad) quarto, the second quarto, and the folio. Jenkins wisely relies primarily on the second quarto, but is not afraid to supplement or modify it with the folio and even the first quarto where it is appropriate.
But differences in the text of the play between this and other editions of the play is not the reason to buy this book. The reason is that there is so much more here than just the play. First, there is the 150+ page introduction, which is as balanced a review of thought on Hamlet as you are going to find. Next, the text of the play has the standard array of footnotes to explain various word meanings or relevancies. Third, at the end of the play there are longer notes that discuss in depth issues that the text raises which are beyond the scope of a normal footnote. These longer notes are great with an in depth discussion of hundreds of issues including whether a nunnery refers to a house of ill-repute and how old Hamlet is.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Joost Daalder on April 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
Both as an academic teacher and as a researcher I have used Jenkins's edition regularly for nearly twenty years, and continue to marvel at the wealth of scholarly material - factual and interpretative - which it offers. I consider that no other edition of *Hamlet* is remotely as useful, though I frequently find myself in disagreement with this great editor.
Jenkins's text is eminently satisfying: sensibly and responsibly based, and scrupulously and intelligently modernised, even if one prefers (as I do) e.g. "solid" to "sullied".
His introduction is informative and well-considered, though I must admit I find his interpretative view of the play, both there and in several of his longer notes, at times less than penetrating. I feel he idealises Hamlet too much, misjudges the failure of Hamlet's play-within-the-play, and is less than openminded when it comes to making sense of e.g. the sexual elements in Ophelia's dreams (which are hard to interpret decisively, but certainly more significant than his cursory view suggests). On the other hand his information on ghosts, for example, is highly valuable and useful.
His shorter notes, explaining many difficult words and contemporary concepts, are always illuminating, frequently "spot on", and usually helpful even if one disagrees, in that he provides most of the information which one needs even if one ultimately arrives at a different judgement from his.
If banished or imprisoned and allowed only one edition of *Hamlet* I'd take this one. Not only because it is the best, but because it would help me in spending many weeks, months, or years on this riddling, frustrating, but endlessly fascinating play. Jenkins's edition is a monument to late twentieth century scholarship, and will undoubtedly continue to be recognised as such. - Joost Daalder, Professor of English, Flinders University, South Australia
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45 of 52 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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