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The Arden Dictionary of Shakespeare Quotations: Gift Edition (Arden Shakespeare Library) [Hardcover]

Jane Armstrong
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

14 Sep 2010 Arden Shakespeare Library
Who said "Neither a lender or borrower be", who loved "not wisely but too well" and whose "salad days" are now behind her? If you have ever struggled to remember a Shakespeare quote, this is the book for you. It has over 3,000 quotes from single lines to quite long extracts, organized by topic and by play, with a key word index making it very easy to use. The dictionary also includes a glossary of unfamiliar terms and a brief biography of Shakespeare. It is very easy to dip into by word, theme or by play and the key word index means you can track down a half-remembered quote easily. A beautifully produced small format hardback with a colourful jacket, book ribbon and a bookplate, this is great gift for literary types, after dinner speakers and crossword fillers!

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Arden Shakespeare; Gift ed edition (14 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408128977
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408128978
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 12.2 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 206,585 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)

Product Description


"The most frequently quoted (and misquoted) writer in the English language is well served by this compact collection of more than 3,000 quotations from his plays and poems, indexed by keyword, topic, and play title. Additional features include a glossary and a brief biography of the Bard. The text used is the 1998 "Arden Shakespeare Complete Works", long a favorite of students as well as performers...With its modest price and carefully constructed indexes, "The Arden Dictionary of Shakespeare Quotations" is the place to 'brush up your Shakespeare.'"--"Booklist" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jane Armstrong is a freelance editor and writer living in London.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic resource for writers 2 Oct 2005
You know the feeling. You are writing an essay or piece of journalism and you need a quote to illustrate a point. You could turn to one of the mammoth lists of quotes from across the board of writers, politicians and celebrities, but Shakespeare seems to have commented on every aspect of human existence anyway. This is an excellent collection and orders the quotes in a way that makes them very easy to reference. It contains thousands of quotes, from the very familiar that everyone knows to some obscure references that will surprise your readers. Well worth the money as many of these Shakespearean quotes are not included in general collections.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a quick dip into Shakespeare 11 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you're at all lazy about reading Shakespeare's works like I am but want to enjoy some of the bard's genius, then this is the book for you. Listing Shakespeare's quotes by alphabetical subject matter, from grief to joy, from death to experience, and much more beyond, you gain some fair measure of his well deserved reputation. Actually made me more enthused about reading his works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous 20 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are one of these people that like quotes then this is the book for you. For the serious minded
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting & Useful Dictionary of Shakespeare's Themes. 12 Jun 2001
By tepi - Published on
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!
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Bargain 28 May 2001
By sweetmolly - Published on
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.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Shakespearean quotation book out there! 14 Oct 2000
By Marilyn - Published on
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally...something I can use! 21 Dec 2013
By Joseph Erickson - Published on
I have been quite the Shakespeare-phile ever since high school and have always wanted to find an accurate summary of quotes. You would think there would be more available but this book is arranged well based on topic/subject, making obtaining the right quote for the right situation possible. While this was given to me as a gift from my wife and daughter, I think the price is excellent for a book of this breadth and depth. Highly recommended.
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful idea, middling execution 20 Dec 2013
By E. Aldworth - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is well-designed with a pretty cover and readable typeface. Unfortunately, that is the greater part of its charms. What could have been a stellar source for Shakespeare's greatest words organized by topic is in practice a poorly edited collection, more literal than literary. For example, under "Flowers & Plants," the editor has included this famous line: "Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May" (Sonnet 18.3). Obviously, the imagery is floral, but without more of the sonnet or an annotation, the book is not effective. This is a consistent problem throughout.

With that said, this book is the only one of its kind in print as far as I can tell. It will at least point you in the right direction for reference or inspiration. If you are industrious, you could try to get a hold of A Dictionary of Quotations from Shakespeare (eds. Margaret Miner and Hugh Rawson) which allegedly has "information on context, Elizabethan language, Shakespeare's sources, and historical illusions" while still being organized by subject.
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