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The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works 2nd Edition Hardcover – August 1, 2005
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"State-of-the-art scholarship...has come to stand as the edition of record of Shakespeare's poems and plays."--San Diego Union-Tribune
"Includes stage directions, introductions, and a trove of other scholarly goodies. A beauty."--Library Journal (starred review)
About the Author
Stanley Wells is Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Birmingham, the Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and Vice-Chairman of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Gary Taylor is Professor in the English Department at the University of Alabama. John Jowett is Associate General Editor of the Oxford Collected Works of Thomas Middleton and co-author of Shakespeare Reshaped 1606-23. William Montgomery works for the Guardian newspaper.
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Top Customer Reviews
But the best reason to buy the RSC Shakespeare is because the editors have gone to great lengths to preserve the First Folio (1623) edition of Shakespeare.Read more ›
Why is this the best edition for a reader who wants as much as possible within the confines of a single book? First, it should be pointed out that unannotated editions such as the Oxford Complete Works are all in all of comparatively little use as even expert Renaissance scholars - leave alone inexpert readers - cannot read Shakespeare's language unaided; there are simply far too many words, features of grammar, etc., which a modern reader is certain to interpret inaccurately or not to understand at all. So it is essential to have intelligent and well-informed annotation that will help one to understand the text. Bevington's is extraordinarily good: knowledgeable, precise, and helpfully clear.
Second, an editor needs to be able to produce a responsible modernised text. Shakespeare cannot be understood by many unless he is read in modern spelling, and the punctuation of his period, too, often leads most modern readers astray. Bevington's modernisation of the text is exemplary. Furthermore, his handling of the many thorny textual problems is also outstanding for the knowledge and the judgement that he brings to bear. For example, the Oxford people unwisely and on poor grounds print two separate versions of *King Lear*, and Bevington has been exceptional in rejecting that approach and producing a persuasively and intelligibly "conflated" text (much better, by the way, than the conflated version in the Arden text edited in 1997 by R.A. Foakes).Read more ›
The various quarto and octavo editions are used to correct the Folio text (where that is obviously corrupt) but not to supplement it. Passages excised from the Folio are printed here in appendices and textual notes. Plays that didn't appear in the Folio appear in a different format in the back. (So too with the poems and sonnets.) If passages vary in wording between the early editions, the Folio receives precedence, as long as it makes sense.
The notes are also quite extensive about vocabulary and are franker than usual about sexual matters. The notes about historical events are not as extensive as those in the Riverside, but the chronologies, introductions, and other supplementary materials do provide the basic background. The introductions, by Jonathan Bate, are concise and steer a middle course between dramatic / thematic issues on one hand and developmental / textual issues on the other.
Like the Norton Shakespeare, the plays are here printed in single-column format, which greatly aids readability. Unlike the Norton, which prints the plays in approximate chronological order, the plays are printed here in the order they appeared in the First Folio. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a review of the Kindle edition of the Modern Library/Random House edition of the Shakespeare Complete Works edited by Bates, Rasmussen, and the RSC. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Scroop Moth
The question most people who are considering this book will probably ask is why they should choose it over any other one-volume Shakespeare on the market. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bardfan
This is the COMPLETE works of Shakespeare so the above is hardly adequate. Found this edition a pleasure to read although you never stop reading big Bill, probably the greatest... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Van
The Kindle device with that of Modern Library Shakespeare: the issue with the overlapped line-numbers with the first word of the line seems to be corrected now! Read morePublished 2 months ago by ShakeIt
English major can't live without this FABULOUS anthology. Get it. You won't regret it!Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great collection. Almost finished with my challenge-to-self (read it all!). Same problem, though, as many Kindle-ized books: numerous glitches in the text.Published 2 months ago by Brian W