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Romeo and Juliet (Folger Shakespeare Library) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 774 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Romeo and Juliet was the first drama in English to confer full tragic dignity on the agonies of youthful love. The lyricism that enshrines their death-marked devotion has made the lovers legendary in every language that possesses a literature. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (January 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743477111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743477116
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 6.8 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (774 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am a student who had to read this book and I couldn't understand most of the stuff Shakespeare was writing. We first started to read some other books with the Old English type writing and I got a C- in this class because I couldnt understand it. We just started reading Romeo and Juliet and I had the same problem so I bought this book. Boy, did it help me! I got an A in my class! Another feature which I liked was how the layout is put side-by-side so if you have to read during class, you'll be able to know where everyone is and if you dont understand it, just go to the other side.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a high school English teacher looking at the different versions of classics texts available for Kindle (fire), so my review will not be for the play itself, but rather for the eBook--readability, layout, price, and other features.

This version of Romeo and Juliet is my favorite 99 cent version for several reasons. First, there are links to each act and scene. Next, the page layout is clean and easy to read with spaces between each speaker. Finally, the line formatting is in the correct iambic pentameter format, though there are no line numbers. There are no annotations or explanations, but none of the good 99 cent versions provide that either. Bottom line, easy to use!
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Format: Paperback
This is only partially a review of the story, but mostly a review on how much I love the No Fear series. It's SO useful. You have Shakespeare on one page, and the 'translation' into modern English on one page. I understand Shakespeare so much better now. I thought I understood Shakespeare when I read version where you have a footnote at the bottom saying what 'grandshire phrase' or something means. I did get the gist of it, but now I understand what the characters are saying and feeling, and I get all the little jokes. I can appreciate Shakespeare now, which was impossible before (then again, I'm only 12, it's probably easier for other people).
Not to mention in other versions I would read a little bit, glance down at the footnotes, read, glance down, re-read to find the word in the footnote, et cetera and it was very tedious. Now I just read a page of Shakespeare and then a page of modern, or vice versa. I do vice versa because then I understand how the character feels before reading the lines out loud, making this version very useful for putting on the play.
There is one problem. In most editions, you have various essays and notes. They don't have this in here. I don't take of stars for this because I personally never read the essays, but some people might.
Anyway, the story itself. Shakespeare is very poetic, and you can appreciate it more if you know what he's talking about. How ever, I hate 'love at first sight' with a burning passion. If you get over that, the characters and plot are engaging.
I read this because I was in the play. But this edition is so good I'm going to read other Shakespeare plays for my own enjoyment.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Of course this is an immortal story that has been read for centuries and at least one beautiful motion picture has been based on it. But, I guess I'm a "dunce" because I never could understand much of the dialogue. "What he say?" was my reaction to much of it. But, I discovered these Folger Shakespeare Library editions that have the dialogue as written by Shakespeare in Elizabethan English on the right side of the page and the "translations" and explanations on the left. Wow! That format makes it very easy to enjoy this book without going to a dictionary every 90 seconds or so! And, for teachers, I think they'll be overjoyed when they see the positive results they could get in class! If you have any opinions about this edition please email boland7214@aol.
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Format: Paperback
This book is what it says it is--a translation. It provides modern text opposite the page featuring the original text. For mere translational purposes, this book can't be beat.
It claims to include "plenty of helpful commentary," but I found such comments to be lacking! Act 1 has sixteen comments and Act 2 has twenty-three, but from here on out, the numbers dwindle. There are no comments in all of Act 5, only two in all of Act 3, and only three in Act 4. That's only forty-four comments for a book some two hundred pages long!
Perhaps there wasn't much cause for commentary, or some Acts (such as 3) were pretty short, but I would have liked some and felt it would have helped--plus SparkNotes made me expect a comment to be on every page! Naturally, I was disappointed by this, especially considering the book highlights this feature on its cover. Plenty of things my teacher clued my classmates and me in on weren't in the book.
For example, when Romeo buys the poison from the poor apothecary in Mantua, he gives the apothecary a "ducat." My teacher said a ducat is a gold coin; from the text I couldn't infer this, and there was no note from SparkNotes to explain for me.
The book also advertises its character analysis, which is in fact quite shallow and brief, providing little if any real insight.
I wasn't expecting some college-level examination of Romeo and Juliet, but I was expecting to receive what was promised on the book cover--and I didn't expect what was promised to be skimpy!
In addition, I swear some of the translations aren't correct. Just inferring from the text, I came up with more probable translations than the book did at times.
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