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The Necessary Shakespeare (3rd Edition) Paperback – August 4, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0205652167 ISBN-10: 0205652166 Edition: 3rd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1152 pages
  • Publisher: Longman; 3 edition (August 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0205652166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0205652167
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7.8 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The Necessary Shakespeare Third Edition David Bevington

“The Necessary Shakespeare distills the best, the most often read, and the most often produced of Shakespeare’s great plays. By publishing this selection in a compact paperback edition, my hope is to expose a new broader audience to the work of perhaps the greatest author in the history of the English language.”

From the Preface, The Necessary Shakespeare, Third Edition

This remarkable volume comprises not only twenty-one of Shakespeare’s plays but also all of the sonnets, accompanied by a comprehensive General Introduction that addresses questions of context, language, and critical reception, and appendices that explore dates and alternate texts, sources, and Shakespeare in performance–an extraordinary and indeed necessary collection.

COMEDIES

The Taming of the Shrew
A Midsummer Night's Dream
The Merchant of Venice
Much Ado About Nothing
As You Like It
Twelfth Night; Or, What You Will
Measure for Measure

HISTORIES

The Tragedy of King Richard the Third
The Tragedy of King Richard the Second
The First Part of King Henry the Fourth
The Life of King Henry the Fifth

TRAGEDIES

Romeo and Juliet
Julius Caesar
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Othello, the Moor of Venice
King Lear
Macbeth
Antony and Cleopatra

ROMANCES

The Winter's Tale
The Tempest

POEMS

Sonnets

About the Author

David Bevington is an American literary scholar. He is Phyllis Fay Horton Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus. He taught drama at the University of Chicago, focusing on Shakespeare and his contemporaries (Jonson, Marlowe, Webster, Middleton, Dekker, etc.), as well as medieval drama and then the entire sweep of Western drama from Aeschylus and Sophocles down to Caryl Churchill and Tom Stoppard. In addition to courses on Shakespeare, Renaissance drama, and medieval drama, he co-taught in Theater and Performance Studies ((variously with Heidi Coleman, Director of University Theater, John Muse, English  Department, and Drew Dir, resident dramaturg at Court Theatre) a two-quarter sequence called The History and Theory of Drama from the 5th century B.C. down to the present day. "One of the most learned and devoted of Shakespeareans," so called by Harold Bloom, he specializes in British drama of the Renaissance, and has edited and introduced the complete works of William Shakespeare in both the 29-volume, Bantam Classics paperback editions and the single-volume Longman edition. He also edits the Norton Anthology of Renaissance Drama and an important anthology of Medieval English Drama. Bevington's editorial scholarship is so extensive that Richard Strier, an early modern colleague at the University of Chicago, was moved to comment: "Every time I turn around, he has edited a new Renaissance text. Bevington has endless energy for editorial projects." In addition to his work as an editor, he has published studies of Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, and the Stuart Court Masque, among others, though it is for his work as an editor that he is primarily known.

 


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Customer Reviews

Good book and not as bulky as some.
Yankee Scholar
Introduction to the works are up-to-date and give a solid overview of the various critical views and responses to the plays and poetry.
Hunter Hawk
Buy this edition if you're on a budget, or THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE, also edited by Bevington, if you can afford it.
Q

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Hunter Hawk on November 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
This compilation is the best I have yet seen for general to intermediate level Shakespeare studies. The editions of the plays are strong, with copious and clear annotations. Introduction to the works are up-to-date and give a solid overview of the various critical views and responses to the plays and poetry. The general introductions covering life in Tudor and Jacobean England is unusually thorough. Illustrations are clear and helpful. The drawback to this particular collection can also be considered a strength. Few undergraduate Shakespeare courses will cover the plays deleted here. Bevington concentrates on the 70% of Shakespeare's works that have elicited (at least) 95% of commentary and discussion, keeping the physical size of this edition within reason.

There is a move by certain admirers of David Allen White, a noted Shakespearean scholar, to dismiss the Shakespeare compilations edited by David Bevington. With respect to Dr. White, these reviews are neither fair nor accurate. The critical viewpoints that Dr. White--a man of strongly conservative Religious beliefs--disagrees with (White refers to Queer Theory and several other modern critical beliefs as "perverse") are not foregrounded in Bevington's introductions. These viewpoints are mentioned along with other commentary and definitions, as they should be in any work that wishes to provide clear context for the changes in criticism that have occurred over time. With clear overviews of Shakespeare's works, and literary and historical commentary that provides a solid contextual background for his writings, this edition is top notch. I will continue to use it in my courses.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Q on May 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent alternative to THE COMPLETE SHAKESPEARE edited by Bevington. It has all the major plays that are likely to be taught in a college course, except for Henry IV part 2. The footnotes are easily accessible, and will answer almost any question you have about Shakespeare's language, while remaining concise and not overlong and pedantic. The introductions are marvelous, discussing the most important issues of interpretation, as well as the critical history and stage and even recent movie versions. The general introductory essays are also wonderful, introducing students to Shakespeare's life and time, the historical, social, and political context, as well as the drama and theater of the era. There are also some nice color illustrations from Renaissance England.

The "introductions" to individual plays in this edition have been revised and updated, in part because, Bevington explains, "Introductory essays need to be open to recent as well as more traditional critical approaches." Readers might well be afeared that Bevington has revised his introductions to be more "politically correct," as the review below suggests. I decided to test this hypothesis by comparing and contrasting 4 revised introductions with the originals. 12th Night: Bevington's revised introduction gives more attention to possible homosexual suggestions in the play, and "the socially constructed nature of sexual difference" (192). Yet even in the discussion of a possible homosexual love between Sebastian and Antonio, Bevington warns us that "expressions of warmth between men seem to have been more common in Elizabethan times than today" (192). Homophobia is a modern fear. Bevington's revisions in this case actually seem completely justified and balanced.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Steven Moore on March 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
I always thought it was wasteful of English professors to make students buy a Complete Shakespeare when only half of the plays (at most) were studied. "The Necessary Shakespeare" provides a sensible alternative: the 20 most-often studied plays, all the sonnets, and all the critical apparatus you could want. It even has an index to characters, which you don't often see. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By tick tock on February 24, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I worked out of the Bevington Shakespeare back in the nineties, before the Necessary edition was released, and let me tell you, this edition is more manageable, the paper quality higher (no onion skin here), and many of the introductions have been updated and expanded. If you're unfamiliar with the Bevington Shakespeare, you'll be impressed with the historical information included, not to mention sections on language usage.

This series is one of the best out there.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Haley Hildebrandt on March 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
I took a Shakespeare class that used the third edition; because this edition was so much cheaper used I thought that I would take a chance and buy the old edition. The books are almost exactly the same. The introduction in the 3rd edition is a little different than the 2nd, with that said the text after the intro is the same including page numbers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Yankee Scholar on January 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
Contains all the essential plays in an accesible manner. Good book and not as bulky as some.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book used and got a great price. Other than a few folded pages, it was in great condition and helped me through my college class.
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By David E. Frenzel on February 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Met the needs of our son's request on his Christmas list. He was very happy with our selection and has truly enjoyed the book.
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