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128 of 151 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2001
I would not myself prescribe this edition if I needed to choose one for, say, a year-long course on Shakespeare, but it is respectable and valuable nonetheless, and I have never minded my students using it. In comparison to the Norton, it is far more sensible, level-headed, and sharper in its selection of what is relevant to the needs of most readers. It offers help in a way that for example the Oxford unannotated Complete Works does not. The level of scholarship is usually very sound, in all areas. However, the edition lacks the required intellectual life, to my mind, which it should have and which I find in David Bevington's edition (and, despite some perversities, in the Norton); it is in some ways a bit perfunctory, unenterprising, and not sufficiently incisive in its insights. This is also an edition which at times unduly tends to favour the interests of academics over those of ordinary readers. The text, notably, preserves a number of features which are quite unnecessarily archaic to a modern reader. Who benefits from being faced with such spellings as "bumbast" rather than "bombast"? The introductions are more often useful or predictable than truly engaging, and the explanatory notes are in several places not as informative as they should be. Even so, this is an edition of considerable merit, and one that those who for some mysterious reason do not wish to buy David Bevington's excellent edition would probably be best served by. - Joost Daalder, Professor of English, Flinders University, South Australia
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 1999
I have had my Riverside (1974 edn.) since college and still use it constantly. I can't break myself of it because the text is so good: the editor, G. B. Evans, is very cautious about changing the texts and even retains a few original spellings, so it feels very Elizabethan. Another good text is Pelican/Penguin, but it's expensive to buy all those individual volumes. Drawbacks: as another reviewer says, the notes are hard to keep track of, and the thing is so darned bulky! / I saw the new 2-volume edition in a bookstore recently and was disappointed. Most of the pages are photographically reproduced from the first edition, but they look like photocopies rather than the real thing. At least the smaller volumes might be easier to handle.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2009
I got an older version of the Riverside Shakespeare (1974 edition), but it is still a classic. It includes not only the full works of the Bard, but also commentary on life and theatre in the times of Shakespeare. A must have for any actor or one who loves his works. Excellent!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2001
I prescribed this edition for the Shakespeare course I taught in the University of the West Indies nearly 30 years ago. James Maxwell as editor guaranteed a reliable text, and I was astonished by the quantity of useful supporting material. One of my students - at that time very nationalistic and hostile to relics of colonialism - objected profoundly to a course concentrating on one author, and an English author at that. Also to the price and cumbersomeness of the prescribed text. As an able student she subsequently went on to complete her MA at Leeds and her Ph D at Yale. A couple of years back she was telephoning me in desperation to know where she could replace the book - now worn to pieces, and long one of her most prized possessions. She could not praise too highly the excellence of the Riverside as the most useful complete Shakespeare onthe market. Which was my own view, too.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2000
This is an excellent one-stop source for Shakespeare's collected works (including some "non-traditional" selections). The presentation is very attractive, the critical essays are well-written and informative, and the collection is more than complete.

I do have two minor quibbles with this collection, however. One is that the annotations for each text appear at the bottom of the page, which is somewhat inconvenient for reading purposes. It would have been much easier to scan annotations if they were printed next to the text (perhaps a two-column format - left column for the play, right column for the annotations). Also, the books are more useful as a reference than a "portable, read-it-anywhere" collection. They are two fairly large books, so they're not really something you could take on the bus with you.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2000
This book is one of the best examples of a "complete works of Shakespeare" on the market. It is a perfect gift for anyone already interested in the Bard or someone seeking to better acquaint themselves with his works. The footnotes are helpful and appropriate, while the introductions provide valuable insights into the various works. Even if you don't need the footnotes, this book is a must have if you're interested in the history surrounding Shakespeare's writings and the printings of his works. The Riverside is well worth the money spent, and Shakespeare is well worth the time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2011
Great notes, essay, pictures, explanations...you won't find anything better than the Riverside. I like it; my junior/senior high school students like it. The print is a little on the small side, but it is readable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2010
Great way to pick up so many of the master's plays in one book. Paper is a little vellum-like, and the abbreviations of the speakers makes for a little extra work. But, for what it is (an extensive collection at a very reasonable used price), you can't go wrong.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2006
as an undergraduate I lugged the one volume edition of this across various campuses, quite in love with the information and extras we finally were allowed access to after the censored versions of shakespeare we had in high school. Having been recently (rather abruptly) retired, I wanted a Shakespeare to read that was both

familiar and not *quite* as heavy as the one volume edition I carried around in the old days. This edition

is excellent. I'm not in a position to go into textual criticism, but it has more than enough for me right now, and of course has all the references one needs to go further. It is an excellent buy at an excellent price.
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Find any line in any Shakespeare play: people will think " goodness that blonde is not only cute but smart too!!!!!
I am an ex teacher in high school and in a community college in the dreaded English literature classes. I discovered this reference book, in college myself and use it continually. I still substitute in a few classes and assist students who are writing their term themes/research papers. They are so surprised that this book exists with its special helps to those who need them. I recommend this book for any Shakespeare student.
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