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Showing 1-10 of 1,545 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 2,402 reviews
on June 29, 2015
Perhaps you know Shakespeare’s usual method of ending a play: at the end of his tragedies everyone is dead, and at the end of his comedies everyone is married. Not so in this comedy, and that’s part of the charm of “Love’s Labor’s Lost.” It’s an early play in the Shakespeare canon, unique in how it ends, unique in that the voice of Berowne’s is Shakespeare’s own, unique in that the plot is solely Shakespeare’s, and unique too in that the ending sequence of Act V.2 is the longest continuous sequence in all of the Bard’s plays, comprising over 900 lines, or about a third of the play. While the plot itself is a bit thin, the play parodies stuffy intellectuals and overly idealized medieval love stories, and showcases the Bard’s poetical gifts.

The story: Ferdinand, king of Navarre, and three lords make a pact to get away from it all for three years, and devote themselves to quiet academic study and contemplation. At the same time, they vow not to admit any woman onto their premises. This cannot possibly last, and they weaken when the Princess of France arrives (with three of her ladies) to conduct official state business. The king and his three friends call on the Princess and her three ladies, one thing leads to another, and each of the gentlemen falls in love with one of the ladies. In Acts III and IV, things get complicated. Costard, the clown, told to deliver two letters, gets them mixed up. The letter from Armado (a courier), meant for the village hoyden Jaquenetta, is read to the Princess and her ladies. A love sonnet from Berowne meant for one of the ladies (Rosaline) is instead read to Jaquenetta. The schoolmaster tells her to show it to King Ferdinand. She does when, in succession, the young men have caught each other reciting love-rhymes. The most eloquent of the lords is Berowne. Rosaline’s description of him (Act II.1) could be Shakespeare’s self-portait: “A merrier man, // Within the limit of becoming mirth, // I never spent an hour’s talk withal.” In a lyrical outpouring, Berowne says love belongs to study, that women’s eyes are “the books, the arts, the academes, // That show, contain, and nourish all the world.”

In Act V, when all are happily coupled, word arrives that the princess’s father, the kind of France, has died. The gentlemen ask the ladies to marry them, but they, unwilling to consent, impose a penance of a year’s wait. Yes, a year for academic study and contemplation they so desired in Act I, but clearly do not want now. Oh, the irony. Before departing, in Act V.2 (comprising 900-plus lines), they listen in the twilight to the villagers’ songs of spring (“When daisies pied and violet blue”) and winter (“When icicles hang by the wall”)—the cuckoo and the owl. The play ends, without marriage, unhappily ever after, perhaps. A year is a long time. Who knows what will happen? I prefer the Pelican Shakespeare edition for its conciseness, the sparest of footnotes, and the insightful, to-the-point introductions. In this case, it’s Peter Holland of Birmingham University, England, who provides the smart intro. Five stars.
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on July 30, 2014
This is a clever comedy, but I've enjoyed others more. As I read Shakespeare, I do frequently look at the footnotes to ensure that I'm picking up the nuances of the writing. This is difficult on the kindle version, as footnotes appear every four or five pages, meaning that the reader has to flip back and forth to really make use of the footnotes.
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on April 30, 2015
Another wonderful classic beautifully bound in a lovely treasured keepsake by Collector's Library. Having almost 20 of their books, I am always so pleased add another to my "Collector's Collection." Gilded edges, lovely illustrations at a very reasonable price. Who could ask for anything more?
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How can a reviewer give Shakespeare a three-star review, other than all those high school students who prefer to write two sentence 1-star reviews because they were forced to read it? Ah, there’s the rub, to coin a phrase, but I am NOT giving Shakespeare 3-stars: rather the edition I have just read, and even less than three stars for the manner in which Amazon displays the editions. It is just flat confusing, and wrong. Since I started my effort to read all of Shakespeare, at the pace of one work a month, I have been purchasing all the works for Kindle reading. The edition I purchased does have a cover which corresponds with the cover (currently) displayed on Amazon – the statue in the fountain, with the portico in the background. But the edition is (maddeningly!) incomplete – the last few pages are missing! At least the confirmation was comforting – a couple other reviewers gave it a 1-star review – for incompleteness, and not because they were forced to read it. And who could quibble with that?

Then there is the matter that at least two other hardcopy editions are displayed on the same page, and the “editorial reviews” that are associated with the Kindle edition seem to have absolutely nothing to do with the edition since they speak of “copious and concise explanatory notes” et al., with the other review mentioning appendixes that relate to Plutarch, Montaigne, et al. And none of this exists in the edition I purchased, admitted for only 99 cents... but still. If this was a page on Wikipedia, there would be three separate whisk brooms, with the admonition that “this page needs to be (really!) cleaned up.

Oh yes, was there an actual play involved in all the above grousing? Definitely, and I must have read 95% percent of the complete play, which poses its own sort of dilemma in terms of recording the play as “read.” It is yet another classic story – historically based – of power, corruption, intrigue, and death. The death of Julius Caesar marked a key transition in Roman history, from Republic, in its faded forms, to Empire.

As with so much Greek and Roman drama, Shakespeare commences with a prophecy warning of the ides of March. A prime plotter against Caesar, Cassius, brings in Brutus (of “et tu?” fame) and seeks the “respectability” of bringing in the “silver hair” of Cicero. There are refreshingly “modern” and straightforward details such as Cassius relating incidents from his youth together with Caesar, a swim in the Tiber (in which the latter almost drown) to an illness in Spain, all proof, he says, that Caesar is not a god. There is a discussion among the plotters about killing Mark Anthony too, but then the consensus is that it would be too much like a butchery, and not a “seasoned excise” of this ugly boil upon the Republic.

Caesar is killed, literally on the floor of the Senate, obviously long before those ubiquitous metal detectors. He is killed half way through the play, so the remainder is devoted to the (naturally inevitable?) falling out among the plotters, including a key division between Cassius and Brutus. Anthony performs a brilliant funeral oration, that seems to argue on the justice of the killing, but actually turns the tide against the plotters. He allies himself with Octavius, who would become Emperor.

At one level, an “exhausting read” of intrigue and perfidy that makes “hanging chads” a much preferable method for power transitions. Who would have thought I’d say that? The plotters do lose out in the end... if I only knew what that actually end was! 3-stars, reflecting a “triangulation” between an excellent play and an incomplete edition that did not live up to its advertising.
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on January 26, 2017
This review is for the kindle version of the Arden Third Series Revised Hamlet. Great book with helpful notations/comments/essays. Only complaint is that the play's text is both black and blue (links to notations) on Kindle fire. This can be kind of an eyesore while trying to read. Perhaps if Bloomsbury could change the color?
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on November 4, 2014
More stars needed. This is the original of them all, and you'll see why when you read it. How could one human being have created such a sublime piece of work? Commenting on it seems utterly ridiculous, and I only do it because you cannot consider yourself literate until you've given yourself the gift of reading it. Masterful storytelling, mystery, psychology, family, love, loyalty, absurdity, revenge, misunderstanding, sword fights, nation building, ennui, more, more more, it's here. And it's influence is everywhere today, movies, TV, novels, and the stuff of headlines. Picked it up again after a few decades and still could not put it down.
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on April 30, 2017
Reading Hamlet for my college literature class and the translation is incredibly helpful. Showed it to my teacher and she's considering using it next semester. Great deal, worth much more than $3.
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on January 27, 2015
its great if u need help getting through any shakespeare and making sure you understand it. however it was a bit of a pain in class to have to keep turning the page so much more frequently. the way the book is set up is that on the left page you have the original script and on the right is the modern language version...its also a bit difficult to write notes on the page if you are looking to do that. but it does serve its price mark purpouse
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on April 29, 2015
If you are a fan of Shakespeare you will enjoy most of these classical books that he has written. I know a few people have actually had trouble, and in some cases even myself with what was going on in an 'act or scene' but on the left side they break it down in a little note on what is what. It basically acts (the left side) as a study guide on certain things if you get lost, what is what, what is going on, what just happened etc. It takes something that isn't normally used and helps you understand it if you are having some issues.

The book itself came very well packed, the pages were not bent, or the cover. It was well written with no errors that I have ran across, and the text is readable. It is a good size for anyone, though a little smaller then the average book it can still work out just fine. The cover itself is practical but very interesting in itself, and smooth so you won't get anything sticky or annoying to deal with. It is easy to keep track of where you are at so if you have bookmarks or so on use them. Not hard to lose at all, and great condition.
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on April 21, 2014
It is hard to tell much about this edition (it is apparently based on the print book with ISBN 142092253X). It is even difficult to write a review relative to it, inasmuch as reviews of other editions (e.g. the Arden/Jenkins), are on the same Amazon page (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005CWJI4U/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title).

I suggest that this is not worth buying if having line numbers, notes, and definitions offer any value to the reader, because there are none. The OED that ships with Kindle is woeful inadequate, compared to the notes and definitions in the Arden/Jenkins edition. I do not know if there is a better Kindle edition. It is not a difficult matter to provide line numbers, notes, and definitions in Kindle books.
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