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The Norton Shakespeare: Based on the Oxford Shakespeare [Hardcover]

Stephen Greenblatt
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Hardcover 34.40  
Hardcover, 2 May 1997 --  

Book Description

2 May 1997
Comprising the complete works of William Shakespeare, based on the Oxford edition, this book has been edited and annotated to provide a single-column text. Each play has an introduction aimed at encouraging a fresh approach to the work. In the general introduction, the editor draws a picture of everyday life in Elizabethan England: the culture, the people, commerce, politics and religion. He describes Shakespeare's family life and his professional career as a working man of the theatre. He also discusses the printing and publishing of the plays, and recent developments in textual scholarship. Lastly, he considers questions affecting Shakespeare criticism. An essay by Andrew Gurr (University of Reading), on the staging of Shakespeare's plays explains, for example, how the plays were performed at the "Globe" theatre. An accompanying CD-ROM, "The Norton Shakespeare Workshop" is also available.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 3440 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Co.; annotated edition edition (2 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393970876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393970876
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 16 x 7.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 946,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superior Complete Works 7 April 2005
Let me list the winning features of this edition:
* it is based on the reputable, and widely referenced Oxford Shakespeare, and although an 'American edition', follows the English spelling in all but the notes and introductions;
* the plays are in (conjectured) choronological order;
* most importantly, all glosses, explications and historical notes are on the text page itself (either as foot-, or marginal-notes) - no endless back-turning;
* furthermore, the quality of the notes is almost equal to that of the major multi-volume editions, although less verbose, and more relevant. Indeed it makes you appreciate that you are paying for a lot of scholarly fluff when you pay for an Arden or a single-play Oxford, with their endless quibbles on Latinisms and rewordings. Indeed, often the Norton has more direct glosses, and is more semantically illuminating and clarifying than those other editions, which assume too much in the reader. But the Norton also gives you scholarly references as well. You only lack the obscurest of literary references , which only the most scrutinizing of academics would ever need, and for that you would be working from a single-play text;
* textual variants are listed at the end of each play, showing editorial decisions clearly;
* spelling and names are modernised, and conventional/archaic spellings are rejected (e.g. banquet, for banket - which some Arden editors retain for not even academic reasons);
* consistently more stage directions, with assistance on who is addressing whom, who is front-stage, upper-stage, kneeling, armed, motioning etc.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best on the market 16 May 2001
By A Customer
The Norton Shakespeare is quite simply the best complete edition of Shakespeare currently available. Based on Taylor and Wells' already excellent Oxford edition, the Norton contains a mass of extra material, including extensive introductory essays by leading Shakespeare scholars. It contains everything by Shakespeare that anyone could ever want, from the general reader to graduate students.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bard 1 Sep 1998
By A Customer
This is indeed a wonderful edition of Shakespeare. It is very accesible to the modern reader, even those who find his language daunting. The editors preface all the plays with the issues surrounding them and the period they were written in. The volume also contains an overview of all the events surrounding the times like the state of stagecraft and the attitudes towards withches. Overall, a very useful volume that will allow easy access to Shakespeare's masterpieces.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Available 15 Sep 2004
I am new to Shakespeare and have started to read about him, his times, his works, and as a hobby try to become fairly knowledgeable about him and his place in our literary history. Starting from the basics I have reviewed a number of books and eventually I put together a "listmania" list of about 22-25 books on I am still not an expert nor do I claim such.
Having said that, to get your feet wet there are a few good biographies and I like the Anthony Burgess book "Shakespeare" that is an easy read and just over 200 pages long. Also there are a few other books and tour guides such as the new DK guide with lots of maps and photos. Then there are books such as Boyce's book "Shakespeare A to Z".
But I think the crown jewel of the books available is the present book almost 3500 pages long with CD which rises head and shoulders above anything else on the market. It is simply an excellent book by a group of highly qualified editors using the resources of Oxford. Obviously it can be improved but as of now it is the leader
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars poorly bound 1 Feb 2010
I love Shakespeare and the Norton edition has been my favorite to read in paperback. I was excited about this purchase because I wanted a nice hardcover Shakespeare anthology for my library, in an edition I like. The picture makes this book look very high quality, and my previous experiences with Norton anthologies hasn't contradicted that.

However, this book is very poorly and cheaply bound. Mine is brand new, and the hardcover is very loose and floppy, and the binding was coming unglued before I even took it out of the box. This is such a large book that I'm sure this is not going to end well if I actually attempt to use it (which I would like to do). Unfortunately, it arrived wrapped in plastic, and now that I've opened it I cannot return it. I am displeased. For the amount of money that this book costs, it should be at least semi-quality.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the Shakespeare you'll ever want 10 Jun 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a bargain buy, all of Shakespeares works in one volume with accompanying notes and essays. This is one of the set texts that is recommended by the OU when studying Shakespeare (which is why I bought it) the only warnings I would point out are: it's a very thick book and so difficult to have lying open on your desk and very heavy for carrying around. The pages are VERY thin, so you can't really use a highlighter on them or make notes in the book. However, these don't detract from the fact that this is an excellent book and a very good buy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delighted to own this 13 Nov 2009
By Huigh
Norton Shakespeare: Based on the Oxford Edition: Essential Plays/Sonnets Being embarrassed by the old, expurgated, unannotated edition I'd been using, I searched for the best single volume, annotated Shakespeare. I believe I found it in this splendid edition. All the annotations and explanations of unfamiliar words are very conveniently on the same page as the corresponding text. The preface and introduction almost constitute a separate scholarly work. The typeface is large enough even for the geriatric reader and, as others have commented, the weight of the volume makes carrying it around a mini-workout all in itself. I don't anticipate a problem from the very thin pages as I treat books with respect.
Delivery to Australia was speedy and the total cost substantially cheaper than the retail price in this country (if I'd ordered it locally I'd still be waiting for it!) I'm now the envy of my Shakespeare readers group.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have
A must have for any literature student or any fan of Shakespeare. It has all of his works, with wonderful notes that will help you understand the context of a sonnet, or a play in... Read more
Published 6 months ago by C. Z. Menino
3.0 out of 5 stars Norton Shakespeare
Great momento after my Open Uni Shakespeare: Text & Performance course is over, but very unwieldy to cart around/study from. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Rebecca Heal
3.0 out of 5 stars beware edition
The Norton Shakespeare: Based on the Oxford Shakespeare

If you are buying this for Open University module AA306, beware of this first edition. Read more
Published 19 months ago by SusanJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Shakespeare play you need
I bought this because its a set book on an Open University course I'm taking next year. I'm glad I bought it.
Published 21 months ago by Aseret
5.0 out of 5 stars Oxford + notes = Norton
This is probably the best of the one-volume modernised editions of Shakespeare. It's "based on" the recent Oxford edition, which is one of the few to take account of modern... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Hawfinch
3.0 out of 5 stars The Norton Shakespeare
This contains all Shakespeare's plays - helpful to have in one volume, but it is very heavy as it contains so much of Shakespeare's work. Read more
Published on 9 Mar 2012 by Storkvase
5.0 out of 5 stars The Norton Shakespeare
Recommended for my MA due to the essays written alongside the plays. Personally it's been good value for money as I've had to annotate 8 plays so far and still have a few weeks of... Read more
Published on 22 Oct 2010 by juliemfarrell
5.0 out of 5 stars Get it
This is a great buy. I fully endorse the comments made about the comprehensive content.I'm using this book currently for an Open University (Hons) Degree. Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2008 by John Peter Green
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