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Richard III (Folger Shakespeare Library) Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

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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: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (July 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743482840
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743482844
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. Richard D. Feinman on July 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
This edition has one of the best introductions I've read: informative, well-written and with photos from productions of R III. Just the section on Macbeth and Richard makes this top-notch. Even the Folio/Quarto stuff is interesting -- short and not pedantic. This is my choice for Richard III edition.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Norton Critical Editions has long been the first resource to tap for English language Literature. For interpretation cum primary sources we might prefer the recent The Oxford Shakespeare: The Tragedy of King Richard III (Oxford World's Classics: the Oxford Shakespeare), referenced here in the Norton, in fact, and we might also find further along the shelf the King Richard III (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series), but we always know the Norton will be quite comprehensive and the highest quality of the academic as opposed to the polemic.

And in this very recent release from Norton we find no variation from this reputation. The primary sources in themselves are worthwhile to have between one cover in order to avoid disturbing your academic librarian while clodding across the oak floors.

From the section here on primary sources and analogues we discover of course an extensive excerpt (over thirty large pages) from Saint Thomas More's The History Of King Richard The Third, with the interesting story of how More came to record this gruesome history. From More we receive the deformed figure of Richard as well.

Let us note in passing that the cover of this edition does not bear the usual painting from the past we have come to expect, but a photo of Al Pacino in full regalia from his
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I chose this Folger edition of the play because I have used these editions ever since I was a drama student in high school. I always like the way the footnotes and definitions of obscure words are interspersed with each page of text. These are among the most readable editions because one can quickly find the footnotes while reading, without interrupting the reading to flip to another page. Footnotes tend to be very small in print in some other editions, as well. The type set or font here is of a size that makes for ease in reading.
Of course, one should read many of the fine editions of other paperback and hardbound publications of Shakespeare to get to know the plays in depth. But the Folger PB copies are well-priced, and a very good choice for a first reading of any play.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It may not be Hamlet, but Richard III is still one of the finest works of literature ever created, in any medium. It's a classic piece of Shakespearian (and therefore, literary) character development, full of irony, wordplay, nuance, tension, imagery, and jaw-dropping poetic virtuosity. Shakespeare's Richard III is simply one of the most hypnotic and effectively portrayed characters of all time- he's a calculating, ruthless, cooly charismatic megalomaniac with bitter past and a knack for heroic feats of rhetoric. He's the quintessential antihero, a thoroughly despicable human being who is nonetheless incredibly fun to root for. Witnessing his swift, ruthless rise to power is a sheer visceral rush, and his monologues are deftly conceived works that drip with side poetry, cutting humor, and an almost charming sort of egotism. Reading or watching the play, one feels like they're the wicked king's confidante and co-conspirator, being allowed the unique privilege of peering into the amoral genius' twisted soul. The experience is exciting and cathartic. Of course, there's more to this play than one great character- the plot (which offers a seething glimpse of a chaotic post civil war England) is complex and engrossing, and sees Shakespeare hurling satirical darts at the corruption and pretensions of the nation's leaders. By allowing Richard to succeed by appealing to the greed, lust, and folly of those around him, Shakespeare sends a powerful warning about the cyclical nature and bottomless pitfalls of political villainy and oppression. At the same time, he paints a grim portrait of the ultimate outcomes of greed, egotism, selfishness, vengeance, and megalomania that still rings true to this day (and will probably do so until our species is extinct). Classic.
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Format: Audio Cassette Verified Purchase
Stephens is a bit much as Richard (does he have to yell so often?) but the supporting cast, with Michael York in a multitude of roles, Dame Peggy Ashcroft as Margaret, Glenda Jackson as Lady Anne and Jeremy Brett as the Earl of Clarence (for once, the part is done right--Brett comes off as believable, not as a whiny brat as in many portrayals) is fantastic. Unabridged, as another reviewer noted, and digitally remastered, this recording is the best I've come across so far. Highly recommended!
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