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Macbeth (Folger Shakespeare Library)
Format: Mass Market Paperback|Change
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on March 30, 2017
Truly no fear. I am one of those people who may hesitate to read Shakespeare, but with the modern translation, it was very easy to follow. However, I would like to read it several time times more without it, so that I can truly enjoy the poetry and the beauty of Shakespeare. After reading the book, "Scotland" by Magnus Magnussum, Macbeth was even more interesting.
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on August 17, 2016
It's Shakespeare; who are we to critique the writing?

Although it's been more than 40 years since I graduated with a degree in English and I've retired from a non-literary career in government, I still read Shakespeare on a regular basis. I'm updating my collection with volumes that will fit into my backpack for travel. This edition fits nicely and the binding protects it from being bent better than a paperback.
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on September 29, 2016
Purchased this as required reading for my sons' high school literature classes. They have used several in the series, and it makes understanding Shakespeare MUCH easier. They juxtapose the traditional play on one side with modern translation on the other....most kids don't realize what amazing stories he tells because the language just seems...well, weird. They can finally understand what the teacher is actually trying to talk to them about -- imagery, figurative language, symbolism and style -- in a way they can actually relate to. Very useful book to expand on why Shakespeare was one of the greatest storytellers of his time.
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on May 2, 2018
I am a college adjunct faculty English teacher and I wanted a simple edition with notes for my class to read in the fall. I was going to order 20 of these for the class, but I am so glad I first bought one for myself. The paper edition doesn't have any spaces between the speakers, either, so it is difficult to read, even if it were written in language my students, mostly college freshmen, could easily understand. They would give up on this edition. Also, there are absolutely NO NOTES for students that define and explain some of the more obscure vocabulary and written expressions. The text underneath this edition on Amazon did NOT say that there were no notes. It is not helpful AT ALL for a new reader of Shakespeare or a reader who only read it in high school unwillingly. I am going to order something else for my class.
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on November 19, 2014
Colleen McCullough wraps up her EPIC treatment on ancient Rome, (seriously was that like 10,000 pages total?) And I was satisfied with the conclusion. The best books in this series are the first 2, but with this one I felt like she approached her high-water mark again. Once Caesar was gone, it was more exciting, watching the various flawed and imperfect characters fight in the aftermath.

Collen McCullough's "Masters of Rome" is over-all probably the greatest novel ever written about the late Republic. It stands imo equal to "I, Claudius" as one of the 2 must-reads for any fan of the subject of ancient Rome.

However, since this is the very last one in the series, I really don't recommend anyone start with this. Read the first book first. The first ones are a little better anyways.
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on April 14, 2018
There are many versions of Shakespeare's play that give excellent annotations, and as far as that goes, I like the layout of the book. But the line numbers are done wrong. This will not matter to many, and if you don't care about line numbers then this will be a good book for you. I teach English and spend a couple of class periods explaining how the numbering works and how two or three actors can each have a single part of a single line of poetry. None of that lesson works with this book except to point out how even editors can get it wrong or don't really care. Still I want to emphasize that if you are not picky about line numbers then this is a 5-star book for you--good intro and good materials at the back of the book.
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on June 1, 2015
I was drawn to this play after watching “Shakespeare in Love.” Early in the movie lines are recited from the play that are quite entrancing: “What is light, if Silvia be not seen? // What is joy, if Silvia be not by? // Unless it be to think that she is by // And feed upon the shadow of perfection. // Except I be by Silvia in the night, // There is no music in the nightingale; // Unless I look upon Silvia in the day, // There is no day for me to look upon.” Alas, these words from Act III, and the song in Act IV, (“Who is Silvia? What is she, // That all our swains commend her?”) are the highlights of a play that most critics place at or near the bottom of the Shakespeare canon. The play is a comedy and therefore a love story, but the focus is on the friendship of two men--two buddies as it were--as in the plot of a Paul Newman/Robert Redford movie. Also, the heroine is not Silvia but Julia.

The buddies are “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”—Proteus and Valentine. Proteus loves Julia and she loves him, while Valentine is destined to fall in love with Silvia. This being a comedy, Proteus falls for Silvia too, and Julia must disguise herself as a boy to win him back. If you’re familiar with Shakespeare’s comedies, girls disguised as boys is often part of the plot, but it was with this play where cross-dressing began. Valentine goes to Milan to be “tutor’d in the world.” Soon after, Proteus follows to meet up with him in the court of Milan. There, Proteus forgets about his love for Julia and falls head-over-heels in love with Valentine’s girl Silvia, and to entice her affections proceeds to disparage his best friend. Nice guy, huh? This betrayal leads to Valentine’s exile from the court. Determined to win him back, Julia dresses as a boy and sets off to find him. The plucky and fetching Julia; the wit of Launce, the clown, and his dog Crab can’t save the plot’s absurd and implausible twist wherein Valentine offers the love of his life (Silvia) to Proteus, just after Proteus was about to rape her. How’s that for friendship? And how’s that for love? Valentine doesn’t bother to ask Silvia how she feels about being offered up to his friend as so much chattel, never mind that she would have been raped had not Valentine and Julia arrived in the nick of time. As you might expect, “Two Gentlemen of Verona” is among the bard’s “problem comedies,” and is not performed all that often. In the introduction to the Pelican Shakespeare, Mary Beth Rose of the University of Illinois at Chicago sums up the play with: “In the ‘shallow story of deep love’ (I.I. 21), about which Valentine taunts Proteus at the beginning of ‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona,’ the actual ‘deep love’ is that between male friends.” Indeed. She also cites the plays “exquisite lyricism” as the play’s saving grace.
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on April 28, 2013
Inspiring all of his other comedies that basically fit into the exact same plot structure and storyline, TWO GENTLEMEN is a fun, predictable romp through Verona's streets. As with all of his other romcoms, Shakespeare sets out to tell a tale of misplaced love, unwanted affection, crossdressing, and simple twists of fate that lead our characters astray, and then together once more by the end. There is a silly villain, letters that never reach their intended, and disguises, all coming together to build comedy using situational and dramatic irony.

I read this as an undergraduate in college, and found it to be fun, but now as an adult and having read all of Shakespeare's works (and even other author's interpretations of Shakespeare's work such as The Tragedy of Arthur and Macbeth II: The Seed Of Banquo) I find the work to be mediocre and predictable. That isn't to say it isn't good - but as the Reduced Shakespeare Company says, "Why Did You Write Sixteen Comedies, When You Could've Written Just 1?"

It's true. This play is the same as TAMING, MIDSUMMER, MERRY WIVES, and others (well, not really the Tempest - but none of his plays are like the Tempest), and it really is the formulaic inspiration that is copied in the other comedy texts. It is effective in one major place - the fact that it made Mr. Shakespeare money, and he was well aware of what his audiences liked.

That is not to say it is a bad play - it isn't at all. There are some genuinely funny places in it (my favorite, "...but you are so without these follies that these follies are within you, and shine through you like the water in an urinal"). I suppose it is the grand application of the man's works that include the comedies that so uncannily resemble one another that makes readers of Shakespeare like me scratch his head. Change the location and the character names and a couple events? New title, new play. But it is a fun story, and I would have loved to see this and all the others performed in London in 1595, regardless. Would I still have the complete works as my only book on a desert island? You bet. Would I resent the comedies a little after 20 years on this desert island, though? Maybe, but I would still have the great tragedies and histories to keep me company.
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on December 10, 2017
I absolutely love having this resource for my classroom! Any recording by Arkangel is true to the Shakespearean script which is often difficult to find since many are simply adaptations. The actors' voices and sound effects help both the struggling and seasoned student follow along and grow to appreciate the beauty that is a Shakespearean drama. I wish I could find other recordings.
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on January 26, 2014
This is a Shakespearean Comedy of Manners from before the genre was even really a fully developed thing, featuring love affairs, a revenge plot, some humorous incompetence, a faked death, and much more. I'm not a big comedy fan, but this is certainly a good example of the genre at the time from which it came, and I actually quite enjoyed it. When it comes to the works of Shakespeare as a whole, I would say that this is a less memorable example, but definitely has some positives going for it as well. For one, it's far less well-known than many of his more famous works, so it doesn't feel familiar as you read it. The characters and plot also tend to grow on you, even as the language isn't quite so memorable, and the plotting and mistaken identities aspects are always good plot points, whether you're speaking of today or centuries ago. As to the edition itself, I found it to be greatly helpful in understanding the action in the play. It has a layout which places each page of the play opposite a page of notes, definitions, explanations, and other things needed to understand that page more thoroughly. While I didn't always need it, I was certainly glad to have it whenever I ran into a turn of language that was unfamiliar, and I definitely appreciated the scene-by-scene summaries. Really, if you want to or need to read Shakespeare, an edition such as this is really the way to go, especially until you get more accustomed to it.
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