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Complete Works of Shakespeare Updated, The [Hardcover]

David Bevington
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 8 1997 0321012542 978-0321012548 4
In this fourth edition of The Complete Works of Shakespeare, David Bevington, a widely recognize Shakespearean scholar, introduces undergraduate students to the joys and beauty of Shakespeare. An anthology specifically designed for classroom teaching, it provides introductions to the plays and poems-offering discussion topics, sources for each play, and the stage history of performances. It sheds light on all major issues in thoughtful commentaries about individual lines and phrases and even provides stage directions students can use to visualize the plays. Notable changes to this edition include the addition of The Two Noble Kinsmen, a more detailed examination of Troilus and Cressida, and A Funeral Elegy, a sonnet recently ascribed to Shakespeare.

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From the Back Cover

A balanced editorial approach, a highly respected editor, and proven apparatus combine to make Bevington's the most reader-friendly introduction to Shakespeare available. The Fifth Edition of this comprehensive anthology addresses the two key issues confronted by readers approaching Shakespeare today: a lack of knowledge about the historical period and difficulty with the language of Shakespeare's plays. A richly illustrated general introduction offers insight into Shakespeare's England and background on the literary and cultural contexts in which Shakespeare wrote and produced plays. Each play is introduced by a descriptive essay designed to help the reader appreciate the cultural contexts and interpretive issues raised by the play, without dictating their interpretations. Thoroughly revised and updated notes and glosses provide additional support to understanding the language of Shakespeare's time. For those interested in learning about the time of Shakepeare and reading and understanding Shakespeare's plays. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best and most helpful single-volume edition April 2 2001
Format:Hardcover
Students and various e-mail correspondents often ask me which single-volume Shakespeare edition I would recommend, and I never hesitate in naming this one, as I think it has a long lead over its rivals. I have myself used the 1992 printing with amazing frequency both in research and in teaching, and always with advantage.
Why is this the best edition for a reader who wants as much as possible within the confines of a single book? First, it should be pointed out that unannotated editions such as the Oxford Complete Works are all in all of comparatively little use as even expert Renaissance scholars - leave alone inexpert readers - cannot read Shakespeare's language unaided; there are simply far too many words, features of grammar, etc., which a modern reader is certain to interpret inaccurately or not to understand at all. So it is essential to have intelligent and well-informed annotation that will help one to understand the text. Bevington's is extraordinarily good: knowledgeable, precise, and helpfully clear.
Second, an editor needs to be able to produce a responsible modernised text. Shakespeare cannot be understood by many unless he is read in modern spelling, and the punctuation of his period, too, often leads most modern readers astray. Bevington's modernisation of the text is exemplary. Furthermore, his handling of the many thorny textual problems is also outstanding for the knowledge and the judgement that he brings to bear. For example, the Oxford people unwisely and on poor grounds print two separate versions of *King Lear*, and Bevington has been exceptional in rejecting that approach and producing a persuasively and intelligibly "conflated" text (much better, by the way, than the conflated version in the Arden text edited in 1997 by R.A. Foakes).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Are You Reading What Shakespeare Really Wrote? Oct. 19 2001
Format:Hardcover
The Complete Works of Shakespeare edited by David Bevington
Bevington's edition of Shakespeare's plays is a popular choice, and not without good reason. But that doesn't make an ideal choice. The introduction to this one volume edition is ample with chapters on life in Shakespeare's England, the drama before Shakespeare, Shakespeare's life and work. These are good, but they tend to rely on older scholarship and they may not be current. For example Bevington repeats Hinman's claim that there were 1200 copies of the 1623 Folio printed. However later scholars think the number was quite a bit lower, around 750. It should be said that we don't know for sure how many copies of the 1623 folio were printed and either number could be correct.
Bevington's edition prints the plays by genre. We get a section of Comedies, Histories, Tragedies, Romances and the Poems. He puts "Troilus and Cressida" with the comedies, though we know the play was slated to appear with the tragedies in the 1623 folio. The play was never meant to appear with the comedies, and all the surviving Folios that have the play have it at the beginning of the tragedies.
Let's get down to brass tacks. You are not going to buy an edition of Shakespeare's works because of good introduction. You're going to buy one because the quality of the editing of the plays. Is it reliable? Is it accurate? For the most part this edition is reliable and accurate, but that does not mean it is accurate and reliable in every instance.
Modernized editions of Shakespeare's plays and poems are norm. Since the 18th century (and even before) editors of Shakespeare have modernized and regularized Shakespeare's plays and poems. There are good reasons for this modernization.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential and Readable March 7 2002
Format:Hardcover
As of late I have seen some pretty strong arguments for reading Shakespeare (even if he really didn't write everything attributed to him). Most of my recent reasons have to do with my teaching high school English.
For my sophomores, it is Julius Caesar, and for my seniors, it is Hamlet. Having the need to read along with the students from a second text, I always reach for my Bevington Edition. I like having a second text available, but more importantly, I love having such a comprehensive discussion of Shakepeare at hand each time the moment arises(rare as they are) that a question comes up either during the reading or discussion. The Bevington edition serves me well whenever I teach Shakespeare because I can easily find important information quickly.
I also like the fact that the text is modernized in spelling, presented in a clean and legible font, while keeping an academic presentation in mind. For me this simply means I can read it for enjoyment as well as for teaching purposes easily and without any real problems.
I also like the way that the plays are organized. with many of the other complete editions I have owned throughout the years, chronological order gets to be a bother.
Now, I am no real scholar, but I have acted in several college level and other post-educational setting productions of Shakespeare, and from an actor's point of view the Bevington edition scores well again.
If you are deep into scholarly persuits I am certain you can find flaws within the Bevington edition, as could be found by any expert in any edited literary text. However, as far as an all-round, readable, and informative version of the complete works of Shakespeare (or whoever REALLY wrote all the plays etc.) the Bevington edition has my vote as the best one I have yet to see.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars slightly pedestrian
This compilation was/is targeted for the American college student. It has worked the originals into more comprehensible or approachable versions. Read more
Published 10 months ago by jdfx
1.0 out of 5 stars The Kindle edition sucks
This review is about form, not content. And just about the Kindle version. Is SUCKS. It has no decent Table of Contents, which means that you can't easily find the individual... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Julia Biró
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Bought it for a class, loved it. I still have even today, it's very complete with notes. It has all the complete work of Shakespeare. A+
Published on June 29 2012 by Julie Adams
5.0 out of 5 stars The Complete Bard
Bevington's Complete Works of Shakespeare is a priceless source for the writings of history's greatest author. Read more
Published on June 21 2004 by David James Trapp
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Complete Shakespeare available
Bevington's edition is by far the best Complete Works of Shakespeare available today. Why? First and most important, the footnotes give you just what you need to understand the... Read more
Published on Sept. 13 2003 by Q
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulues Addition!
Last year for Christmas I asked my parents for some William Shakespeare's plays.Boy was I suprised!Not only does it have all of the plays,but also his Sonats,poems,and... Read more
Published on April 18 2003 by FlyingDream
5.0 out of 5 stars Great editing from my favorite college professor
When I was a first year in college I took a Greek Thought and Literature class with David Bevington. His lectures are very much like the introductions in this edition. Read more
Published on Oct. 26 2002 by P. Ghosh
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent edition for the student and general reader.
THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE. Updated Fourth Edition. Edited by David Bevington. 2000 pp. New York : Longman, 1997. ISBN 0-321-01254-2 (hbk. Read more
Published on July 2 2001 by tepi
5.0 out of 5 stars Bevington's edition of Shakespeare is the best
Let me count the ways, in no particular order: I like the typeface and the typography; it's easy on the eye. I like the paper it's printed on. Read more
Published on Feb. 8 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Book
There are very few books that are essential for one's personal library, but this book qualifies. One can argue the point, but you are pretty safe in saying that Shakespeare is the... Read more
Published on Dec 20 2000 by P Magnum
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