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The Arden Shakespeare Complete Works (Arden Shakespeare) [Hardcover]

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Item description for The Arden Shakespeare Complete Works (Arden Shakespeare) by Richard Proudfoot...

The Complete Arden Shakespeare Collector's Edition contains the texts of all Shakespeare's plays, including The Two Noble Kinsmen, which has only recently been widely accepted as partly written by Shakespeare, and also the Poems and Sonnets. The play and verse texts are edited by leading academics, in the light of current scholarship on the different versions of the text available. Brief introductions to each play, written specially for this volume by the three Arden Shakespeare 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 twentieth-century readers. A general introduction, also by the Arden General Editors, 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. The Complete Arden Shakespeare Collector's Edition offers the sound, reliable, classic edition of Shakespeare's work in an exquisitely presented volume that will appeal to book collectors and Shakespeare lovers throughout the world.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   1352
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 11.8" Width: 9" Height: 2.6"
Weight:   6.8 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 2, 2000
Publisher   Arden
ISBN  1903436397  
ISBN13  9781903436394  

Availability  0 units.

More About Richard Proudfoot

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Proudfoot, King's College, London.

Richard Proudfoot has an academic affiliation as follows - King's College London.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > English > British Literature
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Classics
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > British > Shakespeare

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All the World's A Stage.  Jun 8, 2008
The 1598 loss of their theater's lease should have been a major blow to the Lord Chamberlain's Men, one of Elizabethan England's premier acting troupes, who had gained even more popularity by teaming up with one Will Shakespeare, a Warwickshire glover's son come to London some six years earlier in pursuit of his Muse, leaving behind a wife and three children; daughter Susanna, born but seven months into his marriage, and twins Hamnet and Judith, who'd followed two years later. Yet, what to another company might have spelled "present death" only brought greater fame and fortune to the one boasting, in addition to Master Shakespeare's talents, those of Richard Burbage: not only a superb tragedian but also his troupe's financier and, together with brother Cuthbert, happily able to afford the construction of a new theater in Bankside, on the opposite side of the River Thames. Prophetically, the company named their new home "The Globe" and endowed it with a motto which, in approximate translation, audiences of one of the first plays produced there - "As You Like It" - would soon also hear pronounced from the stage, and which sums up the essence of the Bard's plays better than anything else: "Totus mundus agit histrionem" - "All the world's a stage."

The new playhouse's name and motto were apposite not only because the era did indeed consider a stage a model of the world (the area above was referred to as heaven, the area below as hell, and characters would often appear accordingly: as such, Hamlet's father is heard crying "below [stage]" after his encounter with the Prince), but first and foremost because Shakespeare's plays themselves, individually as well as collectively, represent a microcosm of human relationships and behavior virtually unparalleled to this day: Laced with murderous schemes, revenge, and the search for justice, love, and peace of mind, but also comedy, all-too-human fallibility and great nobility of spirit, they delve into the human mind's darkest recesses and soar to its greatest heights; exploring greed, envy, ambition, guilt, remorse and pure evil, next to compassion, generosity, humility, innocence, fidelity, cleverness, boundless cheers and optimism; all interwoven in timeless plots unmatched in wit, variety, construction, and richness of characters.

Yet, for all this, the biggest difficulty remaining to modern editors and readers alike is that while Shakespeare himself didn't seek the publication of his plays, in the absence of anything approximating modern copyright laws, he was unable to prevent their publication by others, in so-called "quarto" editions, often based on unreliable transcripts made during or after a performance. Only after his death, in 1623, his former fellow-actors John Hemmings and Henry Condell published 37 of his plays "cured and perfect of their limbs" - i.e., restored to their author's true intentions - in a volume since referred to as the "First Folio."

Alas, authoritative weight though it has, even the latter doesn't conclusively answer what the Bard intended as the final version of these 37 plays. For one thing, research shows that even some of the Folio texts were edited by others; most prominently so "Macbeth," where Thomas Middleton inserted, inter alia, the witch queen Hecate as an additional character. Secondly, quarto editions of several plays published prior to the "First Folio" (especially of "Henry IV Part 2," "Hamlet," "Troilus and Cressida," "Othello," and "King Lear") are widely believed to represent earlier (or rival) drafts written by Shakespeare himself, and thus accorded considerable authoritative weight of their own. Often, these plays are therefore presented (both in print and on stage) by "conflating" both versions' texts. In the interest of purity, the editors of this particular volume have eschewed that approach, choosing instead to reproduce the Folio text throughout (with gently modernized spelling), because this was probably the text originally used on stage, and appending the passages most frequently added from the rivaling quartos at the end of the respective plays. Thus, this edition's reader will find Hamlet musing in "To be, or not to be" about "enterprises of great pith and moment" whose currents "turn awry and lose the name of action" (not "of great pitch and moment," as in the 1604 "Second Quarto"); he will, however, have to consult the appendix to find the Prince's reflections on that "stamp of one defect" so prominently featuring in Sir Laurence Olivier's movie, or his vows of "bloody thoughts" after encountering Fortinbras. Only in the case of "Lear," the editors chose to fully include both rivaling versions - that of the First Folio and that of the 1608 quarto - because here, the omission of entire scenes and reassignment of numerous pieces of dialogue essentially transforms the Folio text into a new play vis-a-vis the 1608 quarto.

As painstakingly researched and an as obvious labor of love as this work's first edition, the second edition moreover restores the plays' original titles ("All Is True" instead of "Henry VIII," etc.), and also contains Shakespeare's long poems and sonnets, brief accounts on the lost plays ("Cardenio," "Love's Labour's Won"), and - with appropriate caveats - the texts of works of only partial/uncertain attribution, such as "The Two Noble Kinsmen," sundry poetry, and (for the first time) "Edward III," as well as the editorially and topically so problematic "Sir Thomas More."

Background and supplemental materials include introductions to Shakespeare's life, career and language and on the Elizabethan theater, a user's guide, a list of contemporary references to the Bard, commendatory poems and prefaces of his works (including those of the "First Folio"), a glossary, an ample reading list, as well as a short introduction to each work. At well over 1000 pages a brick even in paperback format, this isn't the place to turn for a complete scholarly review of any given play - for that, the reader is well-advised to consult this volume's "Textual Companion" or one of the many excellent editions of the individual plays - but a marvelously-presented one-volume resource on the legacy of the playwright whose works, as already friendly rival Ben Jonson rightly prophesied, would last "for all time."

Also recommended:
William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion (Oxford Shakespeare)
Shakespeare & Co.: Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher and the Other Players in His Story (Vintage)
Shakespeare: For All Time (Oxford Shakespeare)
The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare: 38 Fully-Dramatized Plays
BBC Shakespeare Tragedies DVD Giftbox
Olivier's Shakespeare - Criterion Collection (Hamlet / Henry V / Richard III)
William Shakespeare's Hamlet (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Henry V
Richard III
Peter Brook's King Lear
A must have!!  Dec 18, 2007
This is a must have for any student of literature or lover of Shakespeare. However, this is not meant to be light reading. If you are a student, particularly undergrad, you will be better served by cliffs notes or spark notes.
The ORIGINAL Text Of Shakespeare's Works-First Folio, Published In 1623. A MUST For Any Educated Person.  Nov 10, 2006
William Shakespeare-the greatest dramatist the world has ever known. With a very impressive output (37 plays, 4 poems and 154 sonnets, all of them beautifully written), he has rightly been called "Not of an age, but for all time." This, coming from a rival poet (Ben Jonson) is high praise indeed. The plays, poems and sonnets are very difficult to review individually, as they are well written. Shakespeare brilliantly captured the essence of human behaviour in his works. Of course, Shakespeare is not for everyone. Regarding film versions of his plays, I strongly recommend Sir Laurence Olivier's three self-directed Shakespeare films ("Henry V," "Hamlet," "Richard III"), Kenneth Branagh's growing output of Shakespeare ("Henry V," "Much Ado About Nothing," "Hamlet," "Love's Labour's Lost") and faithful stage versions of Shakespeare (The Merchant Of Venice [an out-of-print film starring Laurence Olivier and directed by Jonathan Miller], "King Lear" [starring Laurence Olivier and filmed as a movie in 1984], "Othello" [starring Laurence Olivier and filmed as a movie in 1965]). I also recommend Oliver Parker's 1995 version of
"Othello," starring Kenneth Branagh as the villainous Iago and Franco Zefferelli's 1968 version of "Romeo & Juliet," as well as West Side Story," a classic musical featuring music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (in his debut; he would eventually write "Sweeny Todd") and masterful choreography by Jerome Robbins (he choreographed the dance sequences in "The King & I," "Fiddler On The Roof") which uses the tragic storyline of the play in a modern setting without the dialogue (unlike that idiot Luhrman, who had the c----es to COMPLETELY MODERNIZE the play; "West Side Story" and "Love's Labour's Lost" is as far as you can get to modernizing Shakespeare, the God of playwrights).

His plays, poems and sonnets are rated PG for some violence ("Titus Andronicus," "Macbeth," "Hamlet") and mild vulgarity (sexual references gracefully obscured in Elizabethan English; "Much Ado About Nothing," "Othello," "King Lear," "Venus & Adonis," "The Rape Of Lucrece," etc; though the language of his time was bawdy, Shakespeare DID NOT condone sexual licence). Profanity was also non-existent at the time. He used the words ("Damn," "Hell," "A--," and "B----" [once; in "King Lear"]) in their original definitions. Hell, as a place of torment, damn as in eternal banishment from God, a-- as in the animal also called a donkey and b---- as a female dog. Used improperly, these words immediately become insults of the most vulgar kind.
Masterwork edition!  Feb 23, 2006
The egregious and omnipresent figure of this unequaled dramaturge reached a peak of colossal dimensions. Although the elapsed time, his influence and absolute domain of the drama, his delirious visions about the greed, ambition, and power 's thirst seem to revive the glorious splendor of the unbeatable Greek tragedy.

There has not been any other writer who had retaken with such vigor, intensity and unrestrained realism the core of the tragic spirit. As the great visionaries, he introduces in his works and obligates us to be part of it. You cannot avoid it. Passion, luxury, betrayal, murder are fundamental factors that support the most diverse complexities of the human soul.

The extended range of aroused emotions we experience show us the mastery of his genius. Humor ( The merchant of Venice, Merry wives of Windsor, The comedy of errors) the eloquent passion exhibited in Gerona 's lovers, the sublime exquisiteness of A midsummer night `s dream, the egregious domain of the feminine psychology (The taming of the shrew) and his portentous vision of the last consequences of the power (Richard III, Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear) reveal such penetrating knowledge of the human being that may be considered a continuous and always renovated source of analysis and febrile investigation for all those who had decided to get inside this kaleidoscopic universe.

His radiant brightness endures and increases through the times. Reading him we understand and even anticipate a good part of the past story of the last Century. That is why Albert Camus defined the XX Century as the Fear 's Century, he was thinking and talking in Shakespearean terms.

Perhaps the most distinguished and remarkable aspect to underline resides in the fact his characters are so emblematic by themselves; that frequently defies any logic or defined ideology. They are models in which his kindness, perversity or evilness concern.

Don' t let your life passes over without having been a silent witness of the astonishing, delirious, chilling, fascinating and sublime world of this Giant ` s Literature.
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm , this England  Jan 19, 2006
Susan Snyder writes of the Shakespearean Histories as follows:

"The history play arose at a time when the sense of nationhood was crystallizing in England as in other European states, part of a heightened interest in earlier times that took in chronicles, ballads, and pamphlets as well. Elizabethans looked to events and figures from those times--not only kings and their battles but country squires, folk heroes, and common soldiers with their different activities and perspectives--to anchor the corporate English identity they were newly defining. In a more focused way, playwrights might dramatize through the Plantagenets current political forces both conservative and radical. Certainly some issues of the history plays were current concerns as well: religious factionalism threatened Elizabethan society as well as that of the Wars of the Roses, powerful nobles still challenged central monarchic rule, and conflicts over the succession to the throne had particular resonance in a land ruled by an aging childless queen."

Shakespeare's history plays are those which center on recent English history, and not the plays like 'Julius Caeasar' which have a strong historical element but occur more distantly in time and space.
They do not have the focus of the tragedies and are more episodic in nature. They generally do not have the romantic play of the comedies. They deal with the relationship between private and public.
Some critics perceive in them an effort at 'redemptive history' of bringing a reign of order and harmony into place, climaxing with Henry V.
There is much of Shakespearean greatness in the histories even if at times they seem far more rambling and chaotic than the best of the tragedies or comedies.


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