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Othello (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) [Paperback]

William Shakespeare , E.A.J. Honigmann
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

14 Feb 2001 1903436451 978-1903436455 3rd Revised edition
In a period of ten years, Shakespeare wrote a series of tragedies that established him, by universal consent, in the front rank of the world's dramatists. Critics have praised either Hamlet or King Lear as the greatest of these; Ernst Honigmann, in the most significant edition of the play for a generation, asks: why not Othello? The third of the mature tragedies, it contains, as Honigmann persuasively demonstrates, perhaps the best plot, two of Shakespeare's most original characters, the most powerful scene in any of the plays and poetry second to none. Honigmann's cogent and closely argued introduction outlines the reasons both for a reluctance to recognize the greatness of Othello and for the case against the play.This edition sheds new light on the text of the play as we have come to know it, and on our knowledge of its early history. Honigmann examines the major critical issues, the play in performance and the relationship between reading it and seeing it. He also explores topics such as its date, sources and the conundrum of 'double time'.'Honigmann's extensive knowledge illuminates this play at every turn, making this the best edition of Othello now available.' Brian Vickers, Review of English Studies

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Product details

  • Paperback: 409 pages
  • Publisher: Arden Shakespeare; 3rd Revised edition edition (14 Feb 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903436451
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903436455
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire and was baptised on 26 April 1564. Thought to have been educated at the local grammar school, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he went on to have three children, at the age of eighteen, before moving to London to work in the theatre. Two erotic poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece were published in 1593 and 1594 and records of his plays begin to appear in 1594 for Richard III and the three parts of Henry VI. Shakespeare's tragic period lasted from around 1600 to 1608, during which period he wrote plays including Hamlet and Othello. The first editions of the sonnets were published in 1609 but evidence suggests that Shakespeare had been writing them for years for a private readership.

Shakespeare spent the last five years of his life in Stratford, by now a wealthy man. He died on 23 April 1616 and was buried in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. The first collected edition of his works was published in 1623.

(The portrait details: The Chandos portrait, artist and authenticity unconfirmed. NPG1, © National Portrait Gallery, London)

Product Description

Review

"Honigmann's extensive knowledge illuminates this play at every turn, making this the best edition of "Othello "now available."--Brian Vickers, " Review of English Studies "

About the Author

E. A. J. Honigmann is the author of more than a dozen books on Shakespeare and his contemporaries, including "Shakespeare: Seven Tragedies: The Dramatist's Manipulation of Response," and "Myriad-Minded Shakespeare." He has taught as a lecturer at Glasgow University, as a Fellow of the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon (Birmingham University), as Joseph Cowen Professor of English Literature in the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and in Canada and the United States. His "The Texts of 'Othello' and Shakespearian Revision "is a companion volume to this Arden edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
'Othello' is one of Shakespeare's later plays and one of his great tragedies, penned sometime between 'Hamlet' and 'King Lear'. It's a play which emphatically presents cultural tensions - gender, race, religion, nation, role. It's a play which, perhaps more thoroughly than any of his other works, relies on the potency of opposition and contrast, the characters being polarised into black and white.
Othello is a Moorish general who has saved Venice and who is now based on the exotic Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Here is a man who, despite his 'alien' origins, is hailed as the saviour of his community, a man who is universally loved and admired, except by his lieutenant, Iago.
In Iago Shakespeare beats out with blacksmith rhythm one of his greatest creations, a man fired by jealousy, tempered by hatred, a man whose determination is hammered into shape and whose evil expresses itself in duplicitous twists and malignant turns enough to topple Othello. It is the nature of Shakespearean tragedy that the hero should plunge from the sublime heights to utter destitution, despair, and death.
The cornerstone of Othello's triumph is his great love for his lady, Desdemona. Winning her hand, securing her devotion is his greatest achievement and elevates him to unimagined happiness. Yet it this very foundation which Iago undermines with the seed of jealousy. As suspicion takes root, the whole edifice of Othello's power and completeness collapses about him. He murders his wife, faces the realisation of what he has done, and recognises that eternal damnation is less of a punishment that enduring life aware of his own guilt.
Shakespeare is a major architect of English. His phraseology permeates the language like the mortar binding together a building.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent For AS Students 30 Nov 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Before owning this version of the play, I had to make do with the grossly inferior 'Penguin Classics' version, and was not really enjoying the play. The notes explaining the text were minimal, I couldn't find any underlying themes and, to compund the problems I faced, the entire play was set out in an almost-illegible typeface.
So I decided to invest in the Arden Version of 'Othello', and since it dropped through the letterbox I haven't looked back. It truly is exemplary in terms of its coverage of the meaning of the text and its nuances, its context and overall coverage of the language, characters and themes (how does a 100-plus pages of introductory writing sound?).
Now that I have this book, I'm starting to appreciate Shakespeare's vision for 'Othello', I'm getting As for all my essays, and - God forbid! - I'm even starting to enjoy the play.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Or the evils of Iago 26 Aug 2011
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
"Othello" is sort of a companion piece to "Macbeth" -- both are about noble, upstanding men who are destroyed by their own weaknesses. But where Macbeth was ruined by ambition, Othello's destruction comes from his jealousy and gullibility. And the play is really ruled by the nastiest, cruelest, most devious villain Shakespeare ever wrote.

That villain is Iago, a high-ranking soldier who has a grudge against the noble Moorish soldier Othello, who has just eloped with the beautiful Desdemona. Using a nobleman as his pawn, Iago first turns Desdemona's father against Othello, but the new soldier defends himself agains claims of witchcraft.

But Iago's true plan is far more devious, as he disgraces Othello's lieutenant Cassion and plants Desdemona's handkerchief in Cassio's room. Othello finds himself confronted by a chess game of lies, deceit and suspected infidelity, and his jealousy reaches a fever pitch that can only end in death.

Yeah, the real star of this play is undoubtedly Iago. This is the most repellent mixture of absolute malicious evil and crazy-smart intellect that anyone could write -- he is the person you love to hate, even as you admire how devilishly perfect he is at playing the chessmaster who whispers poison into your ear while playing your "friend." He doesn't quite think of EVERYTHING, but he comes close enough that you would NEVER want to deal with someone like this.

But this tragedy is also underscored by the depiction of Othello, a truly noble and loyal soldier who is turned into a deranged homicidal mess. It's somehow even more disturbing to see him deteriorate than it was to see Macbeth, because this guy was on top of the world in every way -- he was smart, eloquent, a brilliant soldier and a newlywed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 9 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback
The book is amazing. I'm so glad I bought this in comparison to everyone else in my class with generic copies. The notations are brilliant, now I just have to hope I get my A* in A-Level like I did in GCSE Literature. :)
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4.0 out of 5 stars A must for A level study 2 Dec 2013
By karen
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Official book to accompany English Lit A level course. Well set out book fits nicely into school bag but contains every thing needed in a shakespeare play.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Copy with Notes 18 Oct 2013
By Lorna
Format:Paperback
the book came filled with notes whereas the ad had said that I was buying a new copy with nothing in it.
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