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The Taming of the Shrew (Wordsworth Classics) [Paperback]

William Shakespeare
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Nov 1993 Wordsworth Classics

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

The Wordsworth Classics' Shakespeare's 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.

The Taming of the Shrew is one of the most famous and controversial of Shakespeare's comedies. The central relationship, in which Petruchio boisterously ‘tames’ a rebellious Kate, has often appeared problematic. In the theatre, it has been treated in a diversity of ways, so that Kate's apparent capitulation varies between the ironic and the sincere. Feminists have been divided in their responses. The provocative vitality of this comedy has been transmitted by numerous adaptations for stage and screen, notably the film directed by Franco Zeffirelli and the Cole Porter musical, Kiss Me, Kate.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd; New Ed edition (7 Nov 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853260797
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853260797
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 12.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

One of the most controversial and problematic of all of Shakespeare's plays, The Taming of the Shrew is a typical Elizabethan domestic comedy written around 1592. Petruchio, a gentleman of Verona, arrives in Padua and announces to his friends that "I come to wive it wealthily in Padua; / If wealthily, then happily in Padua". He soon finds that a group of men keen to marry Bianca, the younger daughter of rich old Baptista, are frustrated by her elder, "shrewish" sister, Katherine. There is much subsequent hilarity as Bianca's suitors make a bet with Petruchio that he cannot "tame" and marry Katherine. Despite Katherine's protestations, Petruchio goes ahead with the match, using deliberately unorthodox behaviour to confuse Katherine (including a scene where he starves her), claiming that "this is the way to kill a wife with kindness". The play culminates with a scene of Katherine's apparently spontaneous subjection to her husband's will, where she places her hand beneath her husband's foot, and tells the other wives present that "thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper". The play's gratuitous scenes of women being abused and vilified in the name of "comedy" has made many directors and critics very uncomfortable with the play, and many feminist critics have condemned contemporary productions of the play as reproducing certain 16th-century stereotypes concerning women who speak out against male authority. --Jerry Brotton


'A triumphant addition to our times.' - Fiona Shaw, The Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An introduction worth persevering with 22 Aug 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"The Taming of the Shrew" is one of Shakespeare's more controversial plays. The concluding speech by Katherina has her espouse the role of subservient little woman, bowing to the will of husband, lord and master. Indeed, the theme is conquest and control of the shrew, of Katherina (or Katherine) - much of the comedy and drama derives from efforts to tame the woman's spirit.
A caricature of women in general? Perhaps. Or an elaborate irony? It seems Katherina's spirit is tamed, that she is reduced to submission. Controversial because of its anti-feminist message? Or controversial because in its day there was a queen on the throne and Elizabeth was hardly a woman whose spirit could be tamed, hardly a woman unable to make her own eloquent statements about the competence and capacity of women. To denounce women, to humiliate women, would be to denounce and humiliate one particular woman, and Shakespeare could hardly afford to make such an enemy; the price might be his head.
"The Taming of the Shrew" is an eloquent play which relies heavily on wordplay and witty banter, its dialogue coming in machinegun bursts. It is a play which cannot simply be read - it has to be watched in production (ideally after you've read through it a couple of times). The Royal Shakespeare Company recently put on a hugely popular production (with Alexandra Gilbreath playing Katherine), but they do not seem to have released it on DVD. See a live production if you can, or invest in the BBC's earlier recording of Jonathan Miller's RSC production.
However, review of the play is one thing, the crucial factor for the reader is the quality of this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing 30 Oct 2010
I needed this for some coursework at school, and it helped with everything! There were notes and vocabulary when you need them, everything was described how it should be from the seller, thank you!
arrived promptly in very good condition :D
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Edited and Comprehensive 31 Jan 2008
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
This Cambridge University Press edition is well edited by Ann Thompson. It has a lengthy introduction, running to fifty pages, which offer some interesting insights into major themes of the play. It also deals with the fact that the play is now considered a problem play as much as a comedy, and how critics and editors have dealt with it. She ranges across different schools of criticism to give a well balanced view of the play as a whole.

It deals in great detail with the dating of the play and the problems caused by the different editions, including a play called 'a shrew' which has remarkable similarities with 'the shrew'. There are several appendix which also deal with some of this, as well as the issue of music and its use in the play.

The main problem with the body of the introduction is that it was written in the late 1970's, which means that much has changed in the last thirty eight years. Nevertheless, the recent reprint with a shorter addendum to the original introduction does try to bring in some of the newer elements of the staging, filming and critical appreciation of the play.

The play text itself is well set out, although as a novice, I did find the footnotes rather confusing, as she mixes straightforward interpretation of more complex words and phrases with a much deeper discussion of the choices she has made regarding the editions used and the editing of certain lines and words. It is however, a good literary play text with all sources amply explained and plenty of further reference material alluded too if needed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lesser Celebrated, But Not The Lesser 17 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Personally speaking, it is a great shame committed by Wordsworth Classics to have the fairly elementary responsibility of re-printing an all time classic (deserving of the subtitle) and fumble around with a misspelling on the back cover! i.e. "The Tamimg of the Shrew" (are they having a laugh? OR am I missing something fundamental?)

Besides that, this tale is an account of an energetic power struggle between two, not so innocent, partners. Bemusement, en garde posturing, feisty pleasures in misplaced passion, insecurity masquerading as a point of power,and the feminine suppressed but not faultless…all in all an account (with cadence) of many a contemporary relationship (with the exception of social etiquette and attention to the preservation of fidelity).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bill shakespeare at it again 17 Feb 2014
By Bob P
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Enjoyed the reading, but its the getting into the language makes it hard to follow. But knowing the storyline beforehand helped
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great purchase 30 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was completely happy and satisfied with the product. The product is everything I imagined and I was pleased with the price and packaging.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Taming of the Shrew 7 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Product fine - delivery great -product as described. I really cannot be bothered to write reviews for every book I buy just to keep Amazon happy. Buyers should know what they are getting with Shakespear,
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By Tat
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is just the very best play. I loved eading all the major speeches. Shakespeare at his very best, he understands human nature like no one else.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
bought for my granddaughters A level perfect
Published 1 month ago by Willyed
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor formatting
The Signet edition introductions are good, but they have made a complete pigs ear of formatting the text of the play and all the notes.
Published 13 months ago by William Parslow
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
The book came well wrapped and was unmark spot on thankyou. I have no problems the book is being well used
Published 18 months ago by markbmwk1200rs
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good
This book was exactly as promised; perfect condition and an interesting read. Very much enjoyed as I am studying the subject at school and was very useful to me.
Published 20 months ago by Harry
5.0 out of 5 stars Pocket Shakespeare
This really small cheap copy was just what I needed for a 'one off'' performance. I probably won't read again
Published 22 months ago by jaydee80
5.0 out of 5 stars mollsmum2
my daughter wanted this for her drama swotting and read it along with the york notes - a combination which feels very helpful.
Published on 23 April 2012 by 55 year old woman
4.0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet!
It's nice to be able to go back and read a classic that had influenced so many modern pieces. Quite a short read but sweet and worth buying.
Published on 30 Jan 2012 by Elem88
5.0 out of 5 stars as expected
Swift delivery appreciated for this set book required quickly. Quality as expected for a bargain book. Good buy when you don't want to spend much.
Published on 18 Oct 2011 by Ali 2
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