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Richard II (Folger Shakespeare Library) 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 675 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0743484916
ISBN-10: 0743484916
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on England’s Avon River. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children—an older daughter Susanna and twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright and poet, but also as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Although some think that sometime between 1610 and 1613 Shakespeare retired from the theater and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616, others believe that he may have continued to work in London until close to his death.

Barbara A. Mowat is Director of Research emerita at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Consulting Editor of Shakespeare Quarterly, and author of The Dramaturgy of Shakespeare’s Romances and of essays on Shakespeare’s plays and their editing.

Paul Werstine is Professor of English at the Graduate School and at King’s University College at Western University. He is a general editor of the New Variorum Shakespeare and author of Early Modern Playhouse Manuscripts and the Editing of Shakespeare and of many papers and articles on the printing and editing of Shakespeare’s plays.

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Product Details

  • Series: Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (July 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743484916
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743484916
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (675 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nathan Records on December 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am currently working on my MFA/Directing. I directed Hamlet and am now writing my defense of it. I have two thoughts on this third edition.

After going through this edition, from a point of view of the script, I'm not sure I understand the need to update Harold Jenkins's 2d edition. The script itself was easier to navigate in the 2d edition and I thought Jenkins's notes were more helpful. I also disagree with some of what Thompson and Taylor have to say in their editorial notes below the script. That said, I am biased because I used the 2d edition as a sort of "Hamlet Bible" as I directed the piece. Jenkins's notes were extremely insightful and useful. I became very comfortable with it.

On the other hand, this third edition has some different insight into the play in performance than does the second edition, as well as information on casting and music that was not included in Jenkins. Obviously there is much written about William Shakespeare in the world, and this 3rd edition of Arden is probably the most up-to-date resource for bibliographic material (as well as some photos of past productions of the play). Jenkins edition is 24 years old, ancient in the scholastic world's "what's new" when it comes to sifting the vast quantity of material written on Shakespeare and Hamlet.

Obviously, the needs of the theatrical world for playing Hamlet are different than that of the scholastic world (of which I am currently stuck in both). I think Jenkins is more user-friendly for the theatrician while Thompson & Taylor suit the needs of the scholastic better. My final thought is that a scholar/student of Shakespeare will want to have both the second and third editions for the differences they have to offer.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I cannot more highly recommend this particular book, No Fear Shakespeare's Hamlet.

I am approaching 50 years old and my only real experience trying to read Shakespeare was in high school where we were assigned roles in class and made to read, without comprehension, Romeo and Juliet and Julius Cesar. In the interim, I tried watching a few plays and dragged my kids to see the play Taming of the Shrew, which they hated because they couldn't understand the language nor the plot. Rather than becoming a Shakespeare hater, I've always felt inadequate and dumb for this huge hole in my education.

My current inspiration to try Shakespeare again was my desire to try and help my high school aged son become more educated and cultured than I have been.

I tried first with the Folger annotated editions of Shakespeare. They look excellent and define the unfamiliar words, but I still could not make sense of a substantial portion of the dialogue. I guess maybe I'm just dumb, I don't know.

Anyway, I saw good reviews about this No Fear series, and I ordered several. So far I have read the modern English translations of Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, King Lear, and The Tempest. While I feel a bit like I'm 'cheating', I actually have really enjoyed all the plays and at least now I know the plots and the characters and even some of the more subtle themes. I can't answer the complaints that the translations don't adequately translate Shakespeare's meanings. There are a few side notes that point out double meanings and things like that, though there are not extensive footnotes or sidenotes.
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Format: Paperback
The Arden editions of Shakespeare are the best available. While they cost a lot more than the standard cheap editions, they have so much more. The Folger editions (probably the most widely available editions of Shakespeare) have footnotes that are quite general and never do they have enough. In addition, they really don't have that much extra information on the play--only a small essay analyzing the modern issues of the play. The Arden editions are truly the scholarly editions of Shakespeare. Ninety percent of the time that I have a question on the text, a footnote provides more information. In addition, a lengthy introduction is included. Everything is documented. While at this point I don't care that much about how the quarto version of Hamlet said "no", when the folio version said "so", it's nice to know that if I have a specific question, the answers in there. My thoughts on Hamlet: Don't fret about understanding the material, just dive in. Shakespeare offers interesting plots to the beginners and vivid prose to pick over to the advanced scholar.
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Format: Paperback
I find this very interesting, at least one of the reviewers who gave such a low review not only reviewed this book, but every other book in this Ignatius Critical Series edit by Joseph Peace. In each one, he gives only one star, basially saying the book is a waste of time and money.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark!

Why would someone, keep on reading all the books in this series, and then say that reading them is a waste of time? It just does not make sense! Not only that, but the majority of the book is giving nothing but the text of Hamlet. How can any true fan of Shakespeare give that one star. Just the text of Hamlet alone would make it at least 2 stars.

So it seems to me that there are some here who have a hidden agenda of not wanting me to read this book - not because of its allegedly poor literary value. So the more they protested, the more I was intrigued.

So I got the book, and I am so glad I did! For the first time, Hamlet came alive to me. The footnotes were enough to hep be understand the arachaic phrases, but I was not overwhelmed with them. The editor wanted Shakespear to speak for himself. None of the footnotes tried to persuade you to their interpretations. That was left to the commentaries after you read the Hamlet story.

The commentaries were extremely insightful, looking at Hamlet from a Catholic perspective. And why not? Other commentaries look at Hamlet from a modernist or a feminist perspective. Why not from a Catholic perspective? Again, I do not understand these one-star critics. If they were really fans of Shakespeare, they would be happy to see a book like this that would broaden Shakespeare's audience.
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