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The Norton Shakespeare [Hardcover]

William Shakespeare , Stephen J. Greenblatt , Walter Cohen
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 110.13
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Hardcover, March 1 2008 CDN $90.68  

Book Description

March 1 2008 0393929914 978-0393929911 2 Har/Psc
Instructors and students worldwide welcomed the fresh scholarship, lively and accessible introductions, helpful marginal glosses and notes, readable single-column format, all designed in support of the goal of the Oxford text: to bring the modern reader closer than before possible to Shakespeare's plays as they were first acted. Now, under Stephen Greenblatt's direction, the editors have considered afresh each introduction and all of the apparatus to make the Second Edition an even better teaching tool.

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Product Description

From Library Journal

In the crowded world of collected Shakespeares, there have been two notable works, The Oxford Shakespeare (Oxford Univ., 1986) and The Riverside Shakespeare (Houghton Mifflin, 1997). The most recent edition of the Riverside explores developments in Shakespearean criticism, while the Oxford presents an innovation in the Shakespearean canon. It is the Oxford edition that forms the core of The Norton Shakespeare, destined to change the count of notables to three. General editor Greenbelt (Berkeley and Harvard) and editors Walter Cohen, Jean E. Howard, and Katharine Eisaman Maus, all noted scholars of the period, acknowledge their debt to the work of the Oxford editors. However, they use the strong foundation of the Oxford to create a new and wonderful text of great richness and depth. Their mission is to make Shakespeare accessible to modern readers. With lengthy introductions providing insight into Shakespeare's life and times as well as textual notes, marginal glosses, footnotes, and bibliographies, they more than achieve their aim. In addition, the work is designed for use in classrooms (the student version includes a CD-ROM) and to that end offers some fascinating textual editing to help both students and lovers of Shakespeare understand the complexity of his writing. With King Lear, for example, the editors offer three versions: the 1608 quarto text, the 1623 Folio text (on facing pages), and then a conflated version of the two so that readers can take their own measure of the merits of conflation. For Hamlet, the editors interpolated into the folio passages of the second quarto with different typeface and spacing so that readers can view the work as an organic text. The editors also seek to widen the reader's view of Shakespeare with additional essays by Andrew Gurr (Univ. of Reading) on Elizabethan and Jacobean expectations of theater as well as genealogies, an illustrated chronology of Shakespeare's life, and over 150 illustrations. The result is a work of immense scope, scholarship, and richness. Not only will it be a vital collection for years, it will become the standard to emulate. An essential purchase for all libraries.?Neal Wyatt, Chesterfield Cty. P.L., Va.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Stephen Greenblatt, General Editor, is the preeminent Shakespeare scholar in the US today. Walter Cohen is Professor of Comparative Literature and Dean of the Graduate School at Cornell. Jean E. Howard is Professor of English at Columbia and Director of the Columbia University Institute for Research on Women and Gender. Katharine Eisaman Maus is Professor of English at the University of Virginia. Editors of the Oxford Text: Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor, General Editors, John Jowett, and William Montgomery. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful volume June 15 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It has that super thin, what I call "Bible paper" that adds to the atmosphere of the book. Helpful translations of words that are no longer in common use listed on the outside of the page, line numbers by the 5 on the inside. Footnotes are also provided about historical details. I purchased this as a required text for a university course. My prof has used the first edition, and now the second in teaching the course and believes this is the "ultimate" Shakespeare compilation. The intro essays before each play are also enlightening, although they can change your read of the play (for example, in Antony and Cleopatra, the author really turns up her riggish-ness, when in reality, Shakespeare turned it down). The picture of the product is a bit misleading, it does come with a dustcover that mirrors the hard outside sleeve.
This is one textbook I won't be re-selling!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag Sept. 10 2001
I would in fact prefer to award this 3.5 stars, but the Amazon system seems to compel one to choose between 3 and 4, and I think 4 is too generous. To begin with the text, there is no doubt that this is not the best Shakespeare to buy. It is to a large extent based on the Oxford Shakespeare, which - quite rightly, in my view - has attracted a lot of criticism for some of its peculiarities. Thus, for example, Oxford prints TWO versions of *King Lear*, the quarto text and that of the folio. Norton rightly takes issue with this, and produces the kind of conflated text that most readers would want, but adds the other two AS WELL (so we are offered THREE versions!). This kind of thing is, in truth, academic self-indulgence - it shows an undue respect for academic concerns which to most readers are not of the slightest interest. There is a similar tendency to pay scant regard to what most readers really want and need in the Introduction: that tells us a good deal about Shakespeare's time, and the material is interesting, but it is not often shown to be relevant, or necessary, to an understanding of what Shakespeare writes. The explanatory annotation accompanying the texts is not bad, but often inferior to that of comparable editions, notably Bevington's. The introductions to individual plays are usually stimulating, but not necessarily convincing. Thus Greenblatt on the one hand says about Macbeth's murder of Duncan, "That he does so without adequate motivation, that he murders a man toward whom he should be grateful and protective, deepens the mystery ..." (p. 2558), yet adds a few lines later: "Macbeth and Lady Macbeth act on ambition ...". Precisely, that IS Macbeth's motivation for the murder, as Macbeth himself points out unequivocally in 1.7. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars fast and perfect March 15 2014
By Nick
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
product was awesome and came really fast. exceeded expectations for sure. great product highly recommended. thank you for the awesome product
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must have for Shakespeare fans Jan. 21 2011
I bought this for my boyfriend, who is a Shakespeare fan, as a part of his Christmas gift. It includes all of Shakespeare's plays and also gives you other interesting information. You will never need to buy another Shakespeare book again with this which is well worth the price. The only downside to this is that the pages are too thin which would require you to turn the pages with caution in case it rips.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the lot. March 2 2001
I confess that after examining 5-6 of the top-selling complete Shakespeares I tried not to like the Norton. There are less expensive editions, there are editions with glossy pages and colored photographs, there are editions that are half the weight and bulk of this leviathan, which is far more Shakespeare than the average reader--perhaps, even scholar, for that matter--would ever require. But despite its bulk and unwieldyness, its 3500 (!) thin, flimsy pages, its sheer excess, I couldn't ignore its advantages. The small print enables the publishers to squeeze in contextual materials--in the introduction and appendixes--that in themselves amount to an encyclopedic companion to Shakespeare's works; the introductions to the plays are written not in "textbook prose" but in an engaging style worthy of their subject; and perhaps, best of all, this is the only edition that places the glosses right alongside the "strange" Elizabethan word instead of in the footnotes. You can read the plays without experiencing vertigo of the eye. So this is the edition, though you may wish to go with the smaller, bound portions that Norton publishes of the same edition--especially if you can't afford the cost of a personal valet to carry this tome from home to office. On the other hand, the complete edition is excellent for doing crunches and other aerobic exercises--activities many of us who read the Bard are abt to ignore.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One bard, one book Sept. 18 2000
As a fervent admirer of Shakespeare, this complete collection, comprising excellent introductions to each play and helpful textual notes as well as informative writings on the history of both England and the art of acting that shaped Shakespeare's writing, was like a dream come true. While before I had to walk around trying to find a good edition of the play I wanted to read, now I can open the Norton Shakespeare and read without being afraid of not understanding words or missing the point of the play. This book's obvious drawbacks are its heft and, as mentioned, its delicate pages, but these are easily outweighed by the abovementioned advantages! Buy it and read!
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