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Much Ado About Nothing (Wordsworth Classics) [Paperback]

William Shakespeare
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Jun 1995 Wordsworth Classics

This Wordsworth Edition has been Edited, introduced and annotated by Cedric Watts, Research Professor of English, University of Sussex.

The Wordsworth Classics' Shakespeare Series presents a newly-edited sequence of William Shakespeare's works. The textual editing takes account of recent scholarship while giving the material a careful reappraisal.

Much Ado About Nothing has long been celebrated as one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies. The central relationship, between Benedick and Beatrice, is wittily combative until love prevails. Broader comedy is provided by Dogberry, Verges and the watchmen. The drama ranges between the destructively sinister and the lyrically romantic, giving the whole a complex and sometimes problematic character. Numerous revivals, in the theatre and on screen, have displayed the lively variety and interpretative openness of this engaging comedy.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd; New Ed edition (1 Jun 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853262544
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853262548
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.7 x 0.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Like Love's Labour's Lost, Much Ado about Nothing shows Shakespeare moving into a more complex and darker terrain through his exploration of an apparently harmless comical romance. The play revolves around the adventures of the two gallants Claudio and Benedick at the court of Sicily. Claudio falls in love with the governor's daughter Hero, and is eager for his more misanthropic friend Benedick to also find love. Benedick is introduced to the fiery, independent Beatrice, and sparks soon fly as they banter with each other in a more wittier version of Kate and Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew. Beatrice has some wonderful ripostes to marriage asking why should a woman marry "a clod of wayward marl", whilst Benedick grumbles that "She speaks poniards and every word stabs". Meanwhile, the jealous Don John convinces Claudio that Hero has in fact been unfaithful to him. When Claudio rejects Hero on their wedding day, she faints and is taken for dead. In the hectic final scenes the play moves towards reconciliation between Claudio and Hero, and the tentative admission of the love between Benedick and Beatrice. Famously filmed by Kenneth Branagh in the Tuscan countryside with a cast that included Keanu Reeves, Much Ado about Nothing remains one of Shakespeare's most successful comedies. --Jerry Brotton.

Review

"Zitner has written one of the finest introductions to the play that I have seen. I hope that between this edition and Branaugh's film we can make the play come alive to the present generation of students."--Ronald J. Boling, Lyon College "Handy, reliable, altogether excellent...with introductions that truly cover everything and notes that explain all that needs to be explained."--Bibliotheque d'Humanisme et Renaissance --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not one of Shakespeare's best known plays 5 Sep 2005
Format:Paperback
By no means a well-known play compared to Shakespeare's tragedies, or even many of his history plays, "Much Ado About Nothing" remains a popular theatrical production, a play which offers dynamic, meaty parts and provides actors with challenging vehicles for the display of their talents. In a sense, it is a play driven by its players, its text bristling with wit and energy, its themes and concepts regularly re-interpreted and re-presented by the great actors and producers of succeeding ages.
"Much Ado" is a play about courtly society and its preoccupation with love and marriage, with 'form', and with the appropriateness of suitors and matches. Love is one thing, but marriage involves power, money, and property rights and succession. It's a play about rules - often unwritten, usually unspoken, but which are learned by social osmosis and which appear in the niceties of etiquette, manners, and social trivia, providing fragile bastions to status and breeding. Despite their apparently ephemeral nature, these are rules which are very real, and not without severe sanction.
But "Much Ado" is also a play about the breaking of rules, about their use and transformation, obeying, instead, the demands and commands of love. Much of the dynamic of the play lies in the contrast between the two couples, Beatrice & Benedick and Claudio and Hero. The former are the liberated archetypes, the latter a more classical pairing.
It's a play which has been repeatedly interpreted and reinterpreted in the light of changing social mores and tastes. Much of the difficulty in studying the play lies in teasing out Shakespeare's intent from the layers of meaning and interpretation with which it has been lacquered.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first Romcom? One of the best anyway 10 Jun 2013
By Jak
Format:Kindle Edition
Shakespeare's brilliant clash of the sexes is both funny and profound. If you loved the new film you should read the original in a lovely edition with vintage images. One of the first romcoms! And that boy Bill sure could write!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Not really sure what to rate this...I don't like the play, but the performance is outstanding (just the other way around from Arkangel's 'Twelfth Night'). Nearly every actor performs exceptionally, especially Saskia Reeves as Beatrice and Steve Hodson as the villainous Don John. Bryan Pringle is also very funny as Dogberry, and the musical backing is beautiful, too.

For some this is Shakespeare's greatest comedy, but I think it's strangely soulless compared to 'As You Like It' or 'Twelfth Night'. As to the way Hero is treated, well, I hate to agree with the various feminist commentators, but it isn't a pretty spectacle.

Benedick and Beatrice are the real focus of the play, however, and here are acted brilliantly. 'Much Ado About Nothing' is an absurd play in many ways, but Shakespeare even at his worst has a crazed poetic power which transcends all manner of mediocre plot devices.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Working with young actors 3 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback
For a large young cast the Wordsworth Classic texts represent incredibly good value at less than 2 pounds each. They are well printed with clear, accurately set lines, so that blank verse and prose are immediately recognisable. The glossary is helpful, often including words which more academic texts would not bother with but which a young person may not have come across. And the notes are quite helpful.
On an academic level, the notes are not as useful as the more expensive publications, so these are not texts I would select to teach from but for working rehearsal copies they are absolutely fine
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not one of Shakespeare's best known plays 5 Sep 2005
Format:Paperback
By no means a well-known play compared to Shakespeare's tragedies, or even many of his history plays, "Much Ado About Nothing" remains a popular theatrical production, a play which offers dynamic, meaty parts and provides actors with challenging vehicles for the display of their talents. In a sense, it is a play driven by its players, its text bristling with wit and energy, its themes and concepts regularly re-interpreted and re-presented by the great actors and producers of succeeding ages.
"Much Ado" is a play about courtly society and its preoccupation with love and marriage, with 'form', and with the appropriateness of suitors and matches. Love is one thing, but marriage involves power, money, and property rights and succession. It's a play about rules - often unwritten, usually unspoken, but which are learned by social osmosis and which appear in the niceties of etiquette, manners, and social trivia, providing fragile bastions to status and breeding. Despite their apparently ephemeral nature, these are rules which are very real, and not without severe sanction.
But "Much Ado" is also a play about the breaking of rules, about their use and transformation, obeying, instead, the demands and commands of love. Much of the dynamic of the play lies in the contrast between the two couples, Beatrice & Benedick and Claudio and Hero. The former are the liberated archetypes, the latter a more classical pairing.
It's a play which has been repeatedly interpreted and reinterpreted in the light of changing social mores and tastes. Much of the difficulty in studying the play lies in teasing out Shakespeare's intent from the layers of meaning and interpretation with which it has been lacquered.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book.
If you want to understand Shakepeare, buy this book.
Modern translation,page by page, so easy to enjoy, it brings Shakespeare's writng to life.
Published 9 days ago by TONY
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic value!
As new old school book - very good condition and arrived promptly. Daughter can now highlight as she likes in her own copy of book. Thank you
Published 1 month ago by kindle fire hd
5.0 out of 5 stars Great.
Bought this for myself as I am studying the book at college. I can honestly say this is the best thing I purchased to help me with my studies. Read more
Published 1 month ago by K123
1.0 out of 5 stars A lot of hype about not very much.
My friends and family bigged this up far to much, not much happens in it.
Shakespeare rulz tho. Big up.
Published 2 months ago by Juan Shimmin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Thank you for the speedy delivery that my daughter can read for her English lit work. A good book as always.
Published 3 months ago by Karen
5.0 out of 5 stars An easy read
I love this tale, however due to the influence of film I read the whole thing with the cast of Kenneth Branagh........... Read more
Published 4 months ago by C FRANKLIN
3.0 out of 5 stars Much ado about nothing
I like the film better but I didn't like reading this book as I say I like the film/ play better
Published 5 months ago by Shannon dasivla
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for gcse
Bought this for my daughter really useful !! She uses it all the time very informative !!
She loves English now
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad quality
the book had notes on every page in pen. I know I bought a second hand book but the review stated that it was in excellent condition and that was deceitful because the book was not... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mrs J M Biskup
4.0 out of 5 stars My reading of Much Ado
What to say... Unpredictable twists and turns throughout. Shakespeare has a talent of balancing the most delicate subjects such as love and betrayal;however, entwines it with a... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Alex Beech
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