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Romeo and Juliet Paperback – October 6, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Kathy Dummer, Newcastle Middle School, WY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This splendid edition furnishes readers, students, and theater people alike with a marvelous set of tools for appreciating the many facets of Shakespeare's play: a freshly edited text from the authoritative 1599 quarto, trenchant explanatory notes, and - best of all – insightful performance notes detailing the various ways in which individual passages have been interpreted in important films and stage productions.
- Eric Rasmussen, University of Nevada, Reno and co-editor of the RSC Shakespeare edition
Even as the New Kittredge Shakespeare series glances back to George Lyman Kittredge's student editions of the plays, it is very much of our current moment: the slim editions are targeted largely at high school and first-year college students who are more versed in visual than in print culture. Not only are the texts of the plays accompanied by photographs or stills from various stage and cinema performances: the editorial contributions are performance-oriented, offering surveys of contemporary film interpretations, essays on the plays as performance pieces, and an annotated filmography. Traditional editorial issues (competing versions of the text, cruxes, editorial emendation history) are for the most part excluded; the editions focus instead on clarifying the text with an eye to performing it. There is no disputing the pedagogic usefulness of the New Kittredge Shakespeare's performance-oriented approach. At times, however, it can run the risk of treating textual issues as impediments, rather than partners, to issues of performance. This is particularly the case with a textually vexed play such as Pericles: Prince of Tyre. In the introduction to the latter, Jeffrey Kahan notes the frequent unintelligibility of the play as originally published: "the chances of a reconstructed text matching what Shakespeare actually wrote are about 'nil'" (p. xiii) But his solution — to use a "traditional text" rather than one corrected as are the Oxford and Norton Pericles — obscures how this "traditional text," including its act and scene division, is itself a palimpsest produced through three centuries of editorial intervention. Nevertheless, the series does a service to its target audience with its emphasis on performance and dramaturgy. Kahan's own essay about his experiences as dramaturge for a college production of Pericles is very good indeed, particularly on the play's inability to purge the trace of incestuous desire that Pericles first encounters in Antioch. Other plays' cinematic histories: Annalisa Castaldo's edition of Henry V contrasts Laurence Oliver's and Branagh's film productions; Samuel Crowl's and James Wells's edition of (respectively) I and 2 Henry IV concentrate on Welle's Chimes at Midnight and Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho; Patricia Lennox's edition of As You Like It offers an overview of four Hollywood and British film adaptations; and John R. Ford's edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream provides a spirited survey of the play's rich film history.
The differences between, and comparative merits of, various editorial series are suggested by the three editions of The Taming of the Shrew published this year. Laury Magnus's New Kittredge Shakespeare edition is, like the other New Kittredge volumes, a workable text for high school and first year college students interested in film and theater. The introduction elaborates on one theme — Elizabethan constructions of gender — and offers a very broad performance history, focusing on Sam Taylor's and Zeffirelli's film versions as well as adaptations such as Kiss Me Kate and Ten Things I Hate About You (accompanied by a still of ten hearthtrobs Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles). The volume is determined to eradicate any confusion that a first time reader of the play might experience: the dramatis personae page explains that "Bianca Minola" is "younger daughter to Baptista, wooed by Lucentio-in-disguise (as Cambio) and then wife to him, also wooed by the elderly Gremio and Hortensio-in-disguise (as Licio)" (p.1). Other editorial notes, based on Kittredge's own, are confined mostly to explaining individual words and phrases: additional footnotes discuss interpretive choices made by film and stage productions. Throughout, the editorial emphasis is on the play less as text than as performance piece, culminating in fifteen largely performance-oriented "study questions" on topics such as disguise, misogyny, and violence.Studies in English Literature, Tudor and Stuart Drama, Volume 51, Spring 2011, Number 2, pages 497-499.
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Top Customer Reviews
This version of Romeo and Juliet is my favorite 99 cent version for several reasons. First, there are links to each act and scene. Next, the page layout is clean and easy to read with spaces between each speaker. Finally, the line formatting is in the correct iambic pentameter format, though there are no line numbers. There are no annotations or explanations, but none of the good 99 cent versions provide that either. Bottom line, easy to use!
Anyway, it appears that Arden's Third Series of R&J is unavailable, or perhaps not yet out. If it is available when you read this and you are looking for a first-rate scholarly edition, I'd buy that one -- although I confess I've personally never seen it. But the Third Series of the Ardens, and I have read many, are really first-rate.
The Second Series of the Ardens vary. I'd put this one in the middle. It's quite a bit more thorough than what you would get from, say, the Signet editions (or Dover) but maybe a wee bit out of date and, like most Arden Second Series editions, extremely concerned with editorial conundrums and less concerned with exegesis. But there's a lot of that in this edition, and I am quite satisfied with it. I will, however, buy the Third Series when I can.
One other point I always make about the Ardens: of all the various editions, these are the sturdiest, by far. They are extremely well bound, with sturdy bindings and paper, and will hold up to years and years of abuse and underlining and spilled coffee. Honestly, I prefer them for that reason alone.
Happy reading to you all!
While this version is a mere 99 cents, there are better 99 cent versions available. The best feature of this e-version is that there are links to each scene of the play, not just the act, and that there are line numbers on the page. There is annotation, but the layout of said notes is strange.
The Prestwick version does have a very good introduction that gives some useful tips on how to read Shakespeare. This is probably the best feature of this version.
Why did I give it 2 stars? This e-version is simply a scan of the paper copy. The annotations (which appear in the margin of the hard copy) have been cut out and pasted either above or below the text on each page. The size of these explanations is different (larger) than the rest of the text. The way this e-version was made makes it impossible to use the features of an e-reader to your advantage: you can't change the text size, use the dictionary feature, or highlight lines you have selected. (If you want to highlight, you highlight the entire block of text.)
Finally, some of the expanations are inaccurate (I had this gripe when I used Prestwick's paper version in my classroom, too). For instance, at the end of act 2, scene 2, Juliet says she would have Romeo go "no farther than a wanton's bird." Prestwick's note defines wanton as a prostitute. However, wanton has several definitions. In this instance, a wanton is a spoiled, selfish child.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this book by Signet Classic is the most readable edition of Romeo and Juliet for mePublished 2 months ago by Dixxxon