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The Arden Shakespeare Complete Works [Paperback]

William Shakespeare , Richard Proudfoot , Ann Thompson , David Scott Kastan
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Dec 15 2011 1408152010 978-1408152010 2

This revised edition of the Arden Shakespeare Complete Works includes the full text of Double Falsehood, which was published in the Arden Third series to critical acclaim in 2010. The play is an eighteenth century rewrite of Shakespeare's "lost" play Cardenio and as such is a fascinating testament to the original. A short introduction outlines its complex textual history and the arguments for including it within the Shakespeare canon.

The Complete Works contains the texts of all Shakespeare's plays, poems and sonnets, edited by leading Shakespeare scholars for the renowned Arden series. A general introduction gives the reader an overall view of how and why Shakespeare has become such an influential cultural icon, and how perceptions of his work have changed in the intervening four centuries. The introduction summarises the known facts about the dramatist's life, his reading and use of sources, and the nature of theatrical performance during his lifetime.

Brief introductions to each play, written specially for this volume by the Arden General Editors, discuss the date and contemporary context of the play, its position within Shakespeare's oeuvre, and its subsequent performance history. An extensive glossary explains vocabulary which may be unfamiliar to modern readers.

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The Arden Shakespeare Complete Works + The Actor's Survival Kit: Fifth Edition
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About the Author

The General Editors of The Arden Shakespeare Third Series are:
Richard Proudfoot, Emeritus Professor, King's College London
Ann Thompson, King's College London
David Scott Kastan, Yale University
H.R. Woudhuysen, University College, London
Associate General Editor George Walton Williams, Emeritus Professor, Duke University

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Could beq more user friendly Nov. 21 2013
By david
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Print is very small
Lexical aids inadequate
Could have provided more commentary
However, good to have all texts in one volume
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
205 of 213 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Reader, Beware! Aug. 25 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
For those of us who love (and rely on) the individual editions of the Arden Shakespeare, the Complete Works is a huge disappointment. What has always made the Arden editions stand out from the others is the in-depth scholarly analyses and copious footnotes. The footnotes alone are worth the price of a copy but, guess what? In this edition, they've disposed of all but the most general of critical apparatus. Unfortunately, this serves to make this complete edition just another big book to put on your shelf to impress your friends. Curious readers who want assistance with the complex Elizabethan language in the plays will be much better served by the Folger or Bantam editions. That is, at least until someone gets smart and brings back all the individual Arden editions that have been allowed to go out of print! What were they thinking?
58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but inconvenient Nov. 15 2005
By JM Blackie - Published on Amazon.com
After discovering to my horror that my carefully boxed volumes of the Temple Shakespeare had gone to mold and stain, I sat around for a year or more with nothing but one of these "club" books printed on onion skin paper, with teeny-tiny print and nothing but "some" (?) editorial version of the plays. I needed to get my hands on something to use, something convenient, not expensive and all inclusive. The Arden Trade paperback edition was my first choice due to the respect generated by this edition and editors. Also, as it was not a hardcover, I envisioned myself happily schlepping it about with me on the subway, on the plane or train.... This was not to be.

1) The volume is HUGE and heavy and too unwieldy - trying to make notes or highlight this while moving about in public transportation is impossible.

2) As noted elsewhere, if an unfamiliar or forgotten archaic word pops up, you need to put your finger in your place, flop over to the back of the book (somewhere) to the glossary and hope the definition is there. There are NO footnotes; therefore, no on-the-go interpretation or editorial explanation of the line/word.

3) The essays and editorial intros are okay, but not as valuable or lengthy/specific as I've found in the Pelican/Penguin individually published volumes - one play, one volume.

If you're intending to use this for purposes I've described and are not such a Shakespearean scholar that you still need help from time to time with an explanatory note or definition, then stay away from this one and get the singles. I now have 4 collections of Complete Works, still searching for the "perfect" one. Riverside is closest to perfect, I love my very old Signet edited by Barnet and keep it at work for lunch hour browsing/reading. I have the Bevington 4th edition on order (I buy most stuff used at the Amazon marketplace and their competitors or I'd be broke) based on word of mouth.

But still-- day to day, I use the Pelican single play copies and mark the heck out of them without worrying about reducing their worth by this practice. Your call.
51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I must agree Feb. 1 2000
By N. Schively - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I must agree with the reviewers who rated this volume so low because of the lack of footnotes. I remember being introduced to the individual Arden copies when I was acting in college - the footnotes were SUPERB, much better, more authoritative, more in-depth than anything else out there. I was hoping for the same with this collected works - but was quite disappointed not to find it.
51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What happened to the notes?! Oct. 21 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I bought the famed Arden ed. of the Works of Shakespeare, shrink-wrapped. I peeled it open in glee...opened it...and...and...NO NOTES! What a waste of hard-earned money. I'd say stick with the individual plays in the Arden series in paperback. Sheesh!! (I rate the "book" two stars; Shakespeare gets five.)
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for Teaching Nov. 8 2007
By Glenn Odom - Published on Amazon.com
I have taught several Shakespeare classes with several different texts. In the interest of my student's pocket-books I chose this complete works. The lack of editorial notes makes it unusable in class. I am also surprised by the decision to alphabetize the plays rather than arrange by date of composition (or presumed date of composition.)This is a sturdy volume, for a paperback, which is a mark in its favor, but the Riverside will be my edition of choice in all future classes.
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