- Age Range: 12 - 15 years
- Grade Level: 7 - 10
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: SparkNotes (July 3, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1586638505
- ISBN-13: 978-1586638504
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 7.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2,070 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Merchant of Venice (SparkNotes No Fear Shakespeare)
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
For the last year I've been contemplating the differences between the Arden second and third series. While the second series follows a fairly traditional and philological pattern in its prefatory material (i.e., text, sources, critical history, etc.), the third has changed that pattern considerably. Now, the editor's (for this volume, John Drakakis, whom I do not know) preface is far more essayistic, following what appears to be a pattern of the editor's own design suggested by his theoretical approach to the material.
In some of the third series volumes, that's been a bonus. I rather liked the third series edition of Richard II, for instance, as well as Taming of the Shrew. But this particular edition gave me pause.
Clearly Prof. Drakakis is learned about so much that has ado with this text, but I leave his introduction with a sense that he really isn't in control of it so much as he is showing off. He has a clear investment in post-structuralist theory (I will guess him to be something of a New Historicist, or influenced by them, given his thick description of Venetian economics), and his introduction is full of intellectual cant and shrouds of conceptual smoke (I could barely finish it, and wondered at points why I was bothering). I always felt that the earlier series of Ardens were aimed at helping an educated general reader get an advanced view of the play; this text made me feel as if I were being steered in one very specific theoretical direction. That is, I have more of a sense from this edition than I have from any previous Arden that the interpretation of this play is limited to or focused on this specific line of thinking. The rather turgid prose, at many points, didn't help.
Now that said, the editor's introduction offers a solid, tenable, theoretically informed argument about the play, but one that I find more suitable to a journal article than to an edition of the text (at least of the stature of the Arden series).
Not all is amiss. The editor's account of the play's performance history is very good (but even better is the Arden's separate volume on this play's performance at Stratford), and, as with all Ardens, the explanatory and textual notes are superb. I could quarrel with this editor's choice of using "Jew" instead of "Shylock" as a character head, and his insistence that "Salarino" is a separate character from "Salerio" (in performance there is ever only one of them, "Salerio," in my experience), but I understand the textual grounds on which he chooses this and so my quarrel is probably only a quibble (likewise with the choice of "Lancelet" for the more usual "Lancelot" and "Giobbe" for "Gobbo"). I very much like the third series' emphasis on cast lists as an appendix, and Drakakis' intelligent discussion of the 1600 Quarto appeals to a geek like me. I'd add that the bibliography, as usual, is splendid.
But here's the thing: I used to tell my students, most of whom go on to teach high school English, that Ardens were ideal for preparing their classes for works they were going to teach (and, admittedly, few high schools teach this play). From the experience of this text, I believe I can no longer say so. The critical and conceptual introduction is beyond the typical high school teacher; one really needs to be a graduate student or professor oneself to get a grasp of it. In the older series one could quickly find useful tidbits one was looking for; here those tidbits are now wrapped in a larger argument rather than a standard organizing scheme so are harder to locate. If that's a strategic decision on the part of the series editorial staff's part, so be it, but they are limiting their market.
So if you are interested in this play as a general reader or as a high school teacher getting ready to pitch it in class, I would suggest instead you try the Folger Shakespeare Library edition, which is much less expensive. Its explanatory notes are less deep and extensive, but are certainly sufficient to the cause. And you'll save about 10 bucks.
Please understand that I don't object to Prof. Drakakis using contemporary theory in discussing the play -- I realize full well that the earlier Arden format followed from another theoretical paradigm, for better or for worse. I simply feel that the older pattern was better at helping the reader form his own opinion, while this one left me feeling badgered into adopting the editor's.
Basic Features: This version features very readable formatting. The lines appear in the correct format (i.e. lines of iambic pentameter), and spaces separate each speaker. There are extensive footnotes, accessable through a link that takes you to a page of footnotes (and an easy to use back to to page link). Line numbers are provided (a very rare feature in electronic version of Shakespeare)!
While the Ignatius Critical Edition is one of the pricier editions of Romeo and Juliet at $5.99, it includes several engaging critical essays, ranging in topic from the language and poetry of Shakespeare in the play to film and stage adaptations to love and politics. These critical essays are likely the reason for the pricing.
My one complaint is that there are no links to Acts or scenes. The menu features links to the introduction, the critical essays, and the play, but there is no subdivision within the play itself. This, however, can be surmounted with the bookmark feature.
Overall, this is one of my favorite e-versions of Romeo and Juliet because of the critical essays and scholarly thought.
From one layman to possible others: If you don't have the patience for Shakespeare, you might want to consider a copy with a more thorough guide.
When free texts of Shakespeare began to show up on the internet I kept searching for something well-annotated. But although I could find the simple texts everywhere, I could never find a good annotated text for an e-reader. Now there is one. It is expertly produced and carefully edited.
The parts of the text with annotations are shown in a light font on my Kindle Paperwhite. The annotations are easy to get to, and the presence of the light font mixed with the regular font is not distracting. However, on my Kindle Fire the annotated portions of the text are indicated in red, as they are with my iPod Touch. A text with words in different colors is too distracting for easy reading.
But for the black-and-white Kindles, this is the best edition of Shakespeare yet.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love both its work and appearance.Read more