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The Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd Edition
The Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd Edition
by William Shakespeare
Edition: Hardcover
97 used & new from $36.98

132 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Edition, June 21, 2000
While I sympathize somewhat with the review below -- the introductions do quibble a bit over the differences between Folio and Quarto versions, the exact source material etc. -- I found this to be an excellent version of the complete works. The essay before each play is very helpful toward understanding the literary context of the play--they _do_ talk about the characters and the action of the play, in a way that nicely complements the text. The illustrations (some black and white, some color) are also interesting and helpful. The book contains both a general introduction, which is accessible, if slightly daunting, to a reader who might not be intimately familiar with all of the plays, serving to excite interest at least. It also contains an essay on 20th century Shakespeare criticism, which introduces many of the newer movements in Shakespeare criticism that are not included in the general introduction (which focuses more on the Elizabethan historical period, and more immediate reactions to the plays). The footnotes, while they are not indicated on the line itself, are located on the same page. In looking at several other editions, I found that footnotes were sometimes actually endnotes--i.e. located in one section at the end of the play, which would be very disruptive to reading. Happily, this is not the case in this edition.
The book, as the title claims, includes all of Shakespeare's plays, Sonnets, and poems. The appendices include many other interesting tidbits that help shine some light on old Billy's life, including his will, in which he enigmatically bequeathed a "second-best bed" to his wife. Other documents are included, often with explanations to help the reader to understand (as the documents are printed verbatim, the Elizabethan spelling and punctuation is a slight impediment).
Overall, I found this to be the best of the paperback and hardcover editions I examined.


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