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The Oxford Shakespeare: The Tragedy of Coriolanus Paperback – May 17 2008
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`'Stanley Wells' OUP Complete Works of Shakespeare is now eight years old and has spawned a new Oxford Shakespeare which appears now in splendidly affordable volumes in that nonpareil of libraries of good reading The World's Classics.' The Oxford Times' English Studies Offprint from vol.77 Number 1, January 1996
About the Author
Brian Parker is Professor of English, Trinity College, University of Toronto.
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I generally prefer the Oxford, in any case, and find this edition comprehensible and comprehensive, although I began with the Arden. The Arden, a reprint of its 1976 edition, does contain an excellent introduction by the University of York's Philip Brockbank, plus his notes, etc., and we can never go wrong by holding in hand too many editions for purposes of cross-pollination.
If you can afford but the one to have and to hold, however, please choose this Oxford World's Classics edition by Toronto's Brian Parker, first published in 1994 under Clarendon. For one thing it has twice the length of introduction, although with a wider focus.
For one thing it has the cooler cover, by Marco Cristofori, more expressive of the war pathology within, in which Coriolanus's own mother yearns before her less certain daughter-in-law for his bloody death in war. This image well represents such gore falsely called heroism.
This is the central mystery of this play, which Shakespeare covers so truthfully and fully. How do these pathological killers whom we train and support come home again? Can they ever come home again? Do you want your neighbor a Blackwater killer manning a gun turret on top of his suburban home trained at your garage?
How do those civilians in power receive these killers coming home, keep them under control and supporting and widening their power, while these killers despise them all the while as cowards and as weak? Can a Klingon become domesticated? Why was Zen created? To cure the warrior samurai for times of peace.
Consider carefully this play, now, and its implications for us, now, at this present juncture in our history as a warrior nation, as an Empire.
Read this book; whether in the excellent Arden or in the Oxford, it is essential that we read this book and understand how we have been deceived by the trumpets to war, how we have been held done by the call of a false patriotism, and the oppression by our own armed occupation forces. Read this book and know our own times, and come free once more, cured of the grotesque and unsustainable pathology of war.