Item description for Arden Shakespeare: Dictionary of Shakespeare Quotations (Arden Shakespeare) by Jane Armstrong...
Jane Armstrong was born and brought up in North London. She was commissioning editor for the publishers of the Arden Shakespeare, working on their literature list and founding their list in media and cultural studies. She has worked on the Arden Shakespeare for a number of years, as copy-editor, and later as editorial series manager and commissioning editor for the current Third Series.
The Arden Dictionary of Shakespeare Quotations contains approximately 3,000 quotations, both familiar and little-known, drawn from throughout Shakespeare's work, both plays and poems. The result is a rich and diverse collection that testifies both to the linguistic subtlety and the psychological insight displayed by this most protean of writers. The selection ranges from single lines containing a strikingly expressed thought or phrase, to longer extracts that convey the overwhelming beauty of Shakespeare's poetry, or the fluidity and complexity of his thought. The compilation is organized by topic, and supplemented by a detailed keyword index and a full glossary of unfamiliar terms.
Table of Contents
Life of Shakespeare
Index of References to Plays
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 5" Height: 7.75" Weight: 0.95 lbs.
Release Date Oct 14, 1999
ISBN 1903436680 ISBN13 9781903436684
Reviews - What do customers think about Arden Shakespeare: Dictionary of Shakespeare Quotations (Arden Shakespeare)?
An Interesting & Useful Dictionary of Shakespeare's Themes. Jun 12, 2001
THE ARDEN DICTIONARY OF SHAKESPEARE QUOTATIONS. Compiled by Jane Armstrong. 396 pp. London : Thomson Learning, 2000 (1999).
The present compilation contains 3000 quotations, both well-known and lesser-known, from Shakespeare's plays and poems. The quotations vary in length from short sentences such as "For he was great of heart," through to longer passages such as Hamlet's soliloquy, "To be or not to be," which can run to almost a page or more. Most quotations, however, are quite short, and many consist only of "a strikingly expressed thought or resonant phrase" such as "Do you smell a fault?"
Speaker, addressee, and act/scene/line references are keyed to the Arden Shakespeare series, and some are followed by brief annotations which help clarify the context. The book is rounded out with a 4-page Life of Shakespeare; a 12-page Glossary; an extensive 45-page Keyword Index; and an Index of References to Plays.
In her Preface, Editor Jane Armstrong writes that, as in "the 'commonplace books' in which Shakespeare's contemporaries recorded memorable extracts from their reading," her book has been organized by topic - e.g., ABSENCE, DESIRES, GUILT, HASTE, LOVE - since she feels that this "often clearly reveals the concentration round a subject in a particular play; and ... sometimes shows ideas recurring through Shakespeare's work, either in similar form or in a progression from the more straightforwardly expressed to the increasingly complex and embedded" (pp. xi-xii).
The book, in other words, has been designed to serve a twofold purpose - primarily as a commonplace book or compilation of themes, and only secondarily as a dictionary - and because it contains only 3000 quotations readers are occasionally not going to find what they may be looking for.
I was surprised, for example, to discover that a key line from 'Titus Andronicus' - "When will this fearful slumber have an end?" - has not been included. In fact, SLUMBER doesn't even appear as a topic, since the single line containing it has been subsumed under SLEEP. I was also, until I carefully read Armstrong's Preface, surpised to find that, although there are twenty "heart" quotations, HEART itself does not appear as a topic.
To locate the line "For he was great of heart," which has been included under the topic NOBILITY, you will have to search the Keyword Index. In other words, if you are searching for a particular line you should FIRST CHECK THE KEYWORD INDEX, since the book has not been arranged as a dictionary of words but as a commonplace book of topics or themes, and a more accurate (and less misleading) title for it would have been 'The Arden Commonplace Book of Shakespeare Quotations' or 'The Arden Dictionary of Shakespeare's Themes.'
A truly complete 'dictionary' that would perfectly satisfy all readers and in which we would all find all of our favorite passages and lines could of course only take the form of a rearrangement of Shakespeare's complete works, something clearly impracticable in a handy-sized book of just 396 pages.
Within its limits, and given its aims, I've found that in use the Arden compilation is an interesting book that does a fairly good job on the whole. Many of my favorite lines are there, though others aren't, but in compensation I've been guided to interesting new lines and have enjoyed exploring certain themes. The main frustration I've encountered is that many passages seem too truncated, and I would have liked to have seen more of the poetic context. But this of course would have meant a much larger book.
The book is bound in a decorative glossy wrapper, stitched, well-printed on good thin paper, and is quite a handsome production. As a small 8vo in size (8 by 5 inches) it's not too big, has a nice look and feel to it, and is easy to consult and read. Although it isn't perfect (what is?), I'd say it's a useful (though occasionally frustrating) reference that will also provide interesting browsing material for the Shakespeare enthusiast.
In sum, this is a book with many attractive features, but don't expect to find everything you look for in it : only a Complete Shakespeare or perhaps something like the Schmidt Lexicon could provide that. And to avoid the possibility of confusion, don't forget to read Jane Armstrong's Preface, in which she makes it perfectly clear that this book is _not_ primarily a dictionary of words. It's intended to be something more interesting!
A Good Bargain May 28, 2001
The price is right for this well-indexed, well-organized reference. It boasts 3,000 entries and all are in a logical context. The print is adequately sized and the margins are wide. There are no annotations, which would have been helpful.
My problem with the book is the selection of quotes. Many famous quotes do not appear, and some very obscure ones do. It could be the authors wanted to stay off the beaten track, and draw attention to the less familiar. The result is quotes you don't particularly want to quote. It seems as if a computerized word-search was done, and this was the outcome.
Surprisingly, there are not too many Shakespearian Quotation Dictionaries available. If you wish to have such a reference, you will not find many alternatives. I would give Arden's a lukewarm recommendation in that it could fulfill a need, and there are not many choices.
The best Shakespearean quotation book out there! Oct 14, 2000
This book is well-organized, nicely printed with the headings in large bold letters. This makes finding a quote under a specific topic easy. I am using it for my college Shakespeare class. BUY THIS BOOK over any of the others.