- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Arden Shakespeare; 3rd edition (September 26, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1903436834
- ISBN-13: 978-1903436837
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3,583 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Much Ado about Nothing (Arden Shakespeare: Third Series) 3rd Edition
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CONTENT: I am not going to review the content of this book because it is, well, SHAKESPEARE: COMPLETE WORKS. If you don't already know what that is, no review can help you. It is simply everything he ever wrote, from the plays to the poems. It runs the gamut. And I confess, I didn't buy this to read, I purchased it to be a companion and reference to my collection of movies that are based on Shakespeare's plays. I am one of those people who think that the plays were meant to be viewed as a performance and not read. So it is handy to have them in written form so that you can read specific sections as you watch - but I'll never curl up in my easy chair and get lost in this book. Since I purchased this as a reference book, I was glad that there are footnotes. And unlike other "complete works" anthologies that cram everything into one volume by making the print impossibly small, the print here is clear and large enough to really read if you want to. This book is heavy and huge and as such, it is going to be difficult to actually read for long periods of time, unless you have a book stand that will go on your desk and hold it up for reading - otherwise your arms will get very, very tired. The poems, I can read in a separate, more easily handled book. However if you do want to read it, the construction quality is first rate and will hold up to the weight of the book without falling apart.
QUALITY OF BINDING AND BEAUTY OF THE BOOK ITSELF: This is where THE YALE SHAKESPEARE shines out in all it's glory. The genuine leather cover, high quality paper, marbled end pages, true stitched in binding, satin bookmark ribbon, and gold paper edging all come together to make a true work of art. One of the things I judge good quality books by is how easily they open and this book passes the test with flying colors. It opens like a well oiled machine, with no stiffness, cracking, or fighting - you won't have to "break it in" but it cooperates from the first read! It screams quality from end to end and is built to be an heirloom. I love, love, love it! The classy, old world appearance gives a beautiful appearance to my book case, and the price is stunning reasonable for something this grand.
So, if you want to read ALL of Shakespeare, from cover-to-cover, it is all here. But this book is a regular tome, and you might want to keep this as a reference and piece of art and get your content from watching the plays and reading the poetry from a different, smaller volume.
However, I was disappointed that the book lacks any kind of introductory info to Shakespeare or the play. That would have been very valuable.
Also sorely lacking are any helps for the original text, such as explaining what words and phrases in the original meant. The book seems to assume that the modern version is enough explanation - but it's not, if you want to really understand the original language. For example, on the first page Shakespeare's word "collier" is rendered in the modern version as "garbage man." This is not what it means.
Of course this book makes me lament the current state of education and student preparedness. Apparently, most young people these days aren't avid readers. Thus the need for a book like this that treats Shakespeare as a foreign language that needs a full modern translation.
I hope students don't stop at the modern version of the text, but use it as a bridge to really appreciating Shakespeare's original literary version, and see first-hand why Shakespeare is still considered the best writer in the English language.
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.