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The Taming of the Shrew (Norton Critical Editions) [Paperback]

William Shakespeare , Dympna Callaghan

Price: £7.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

24 July 2009 0393927075 978-0393927078 Norton Critical Edit
Based on the First Folio (1623), this critical edition of "The Taming of the Shrew" includes an 'Appropriations/Rewritings' section with extracts from the earliest theatrical responses to the play by Shakespeare's contemporaries as well as post-Shakespearean reactions. 'Sources and Contexts' collects three selections that influenced the cultural discourse Shakespeare participated in, including the folk tradition of the ballad and Ovid's stories of Daphne and lo. 'Criticism' includes fifteen critical essays, two of which are first published here. A bibliography is included.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Norton Critical Edit edition (24 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393927075
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393927078
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.9 x 2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 297,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  117 reviews
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever and witty play 30 Jun 2000
By S. N. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Of all of Shakespeare's plays that I have read, this is the most enjoyable. The characters are real and engaging - the sweetly stupid Bianca and her hoard of suitors, Baptista, who is more interested in selling his daughters to rich husbands than making them happy, the sly and masterful Petruchio, and most of all, Katherine, the Shrew. The play is full of action, comedy, and enough mistaken and hidden identities to keep the reader happily confused.
Katherine, who appears to be "tamed" by Petruchio's cruelties, learns the art of subtlety and diplomacy that will enable her to survive in a society ruled by men. Her speech in the last scene is not a humbling affirmation of the superiority of men, but a tounge-in-cheek ridicule of Petruchio, Lucentio, and Hortensio, who think that a woman can be tamed like a wild animal by a few days of bumbling controll.
The Folger Library of Shakespeare's plays are the most readable editions that I have seen. There are detailed side notes and definitions of unfamiliar words, which are perfect for the reader who is not familiar with Shakespearean English.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kiss me Kate, we will be married o' Sunday 1 Aug 2010
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"The Taming of the Shrew" is probably William Shakespeare's second most controversial play -- nobody can figure out if it's misogynistic or a biting double satire on the sexes. Whatever it is, it's still a witty and hilarious comedy that pits the titular "shrew" against a crazy guy determined to browbeat her into traditional subservience... and while they're no Beatrice and Benedick, it is lots of fun.

Framing device: a local lord and his hunting party stumble across a drunken tinker, and decide to play an elaborate prank on him. They dress him in rich clothes, arrange fine food for him, and even drag a protesting servant boy in to pretend to be his wife. And they put on a performance for him as well: Baptista Minola has two daughters, the hot-tempered razor-tongued Katharina and the quiet, demure Bianca.

Since Bianca is not allowed to marry until Katharina is, her suitors form an alliance to get the elder sister out of the way, which is made more complex when a young student named Luciento falls in love with Bianca, and comes up with a clever plan to woo her. Enter Petruchio, an impoverished nobleman with as sharp a wit as Katharina -- and since he's the only one willing to marry her, her father jumps on the chance. From the very beginning, Petruchio beats her over the head with crazy reverse psychology, a ridiculous wedding ceremony, and a honeymoon from hell.

It's often debated whether "The Taming of the Shrew" is a sexist play or not, since the strong-willed, independent Katharina ends up another little obedient wifie, lecturing the other wives on giving their husbands "love, fair looks and true obedience." Blech.

But consider: this speech comes from a woman who, after years of intimidating the men around her, has been browbeaten, emotionally abused and humiliated until her boorish hubby finally "breaks" her... not exactly a rousing celebration of "the taming of the shrew," or of Petruchio! If anything, Shakespeare seems to be hinting that women should be subtle about their rebellion (as Bianca is) rather than broadcasting it to the world... and perhaps that is what the "shrew" had really learned.

And as usual, Shakespeare wraps the play in delicious wordplay ("You lie, in faith; for you are call'd plain Kate,/And bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst"), weird situations (the ridiculous wedding), and an farcical romantic tangle centering on Bianca. And Shakespeare has some fun with the framing device about Christopher Sly -- while the lord is being a jerk, the whole situation is just so hilarious that it's impossible not to enjoy it.

And the characters are pretty fun as well, even when you want to kick them in the backside -- Katharina is delightfully witty, bombastic and very intimidating, and Petruchio is a hilarious, witty jerk who knows just how to counter her. Bianca seems like a subservient doormat at first, but Shakespeare hints that (in her own way) she's just as rebellious as Katharina, unbeknownst to her clownish admirers and her worn-out dad.

"The Taming of the Shrew" seems like a pretty offensive piece until you see all the little barbs sticking out of the surface. Really uncomfortable, and truly brilliant.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hilarious play of the battle between the sexes. 24 May 2007
By S. Schwartz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This play is one of Shakespeare's most ribald, but I enjoyed it just the same. It's lusty, earthy and somewhat farcical. It's a very popular play because it is funny and fast-moving. And Shakespeare's wordplay is at its best here. I defy anyone not to laugh out loud numerously as they read this play. It is wonderful!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and well constructed 8 Mar 2000
By Sean Ares Hirsch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If I had not been spoiled by Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors," this could very well have been my favorite comedy. It is comical that the 2 rival suitors for Bianca are able to work together to get Kate married somehow so as to free the "seemingly sweet" Bianca for possible marriage. Petruchio (Kate's eventual husband) offers us a comical passage in 2.1. Another humorous aspect of this play is all the alias identities. Lucentio alias Cambio, Tranio alias Lucentio, and Pedant alias Vincentio. I can not overemphasize Shakespeare's brilliance when all seems well. Towards the end, Petruchio and Kate seem to be doing fine and Lucentio and Bianca will marry. But leave it to Shakespeare. Vincentio (Lucentio's father) goes to visit his son only to be locked out of his son's house by Pedant alias Vincentio. This hilarious scene is such a perfect climatic point. We are exposed to comedy and tension simultaneously when the play suddenly becomes violent. But leave it to Shakespeare to reconcile everyone and end the play with all of the characters including Vincentio and Pedant alias Vincentio enjoying a merry feast!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oxford World's Classics is the best choice for Shakespeare 17 Feb 2004
By R. Rockwell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are many reviews of the play below,, so I am reviewing this particular edition of tthe play. As someone reading all of Shakespeare for the second time, I am always alble to learn something from the World's Classics introduction. They are scolarly and complete and the text always has footnotes on the same page. I have tried other editions but these are the best.
The Taming of the Shrew although it does contain episodes that are misogynistic to modern ears does portray a couple truly in love. As an early play Shakespeare is beginning to find his own voice.
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