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Think on my Words: Exploring Shakespeare's Language (Canto Classics) Paperback – 29 Mar 2012

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Think on my Words: Exploring Shakespeare's Language (Canto Classics) + Shakespeare's Original Pronunciation: Speeches and Scenes Performed as Shakespeare Would Have Heard Them + Shakespeare on Toast: Getting a Taste for the Bard
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Product details

  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Reprint edition (29 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1107617685
  • ISBN-13: 978-1107617681
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 175,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


'Here is a linguist [David Crystal] who knows not only how words work but how they work in theatre. Anyone who cares for Shakespeare will be informed and entertained by this intriguing and wide-ranging study.' Stanley Wells

Book Description

So how can we better understand Shakespeare? David Crystal provides a lively and original introduction to Shakespeare's language, making his plays easily accessible to modern-day audiences.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have lots of favourite English linguits, but David Crystal is perhaps my most favourite, because of the depth of his insights, his amazing knowledge of human language in general and the history of English in particular. Besides, he writes in a style which is highly enjoyable even for non-native speakers. Let me quote one of the reviewers: I also read it in one gulp.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A fun book, gives insights into the way Shakespeare's language works 1 Dec. 2008
By Kirk McElhearn - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having studied linguistics, I'm sensitive to the way language works; the way words go together to arrive at a result. Any fan of Shakespeare knows that the result is stunning, and it's worth looking into how these words work together to create such masterpieces. David Crystal, a well-known British popularizer of language and linguistics, looks at the variegated elements of Shakespeare's words, from spelling and punctuation, to pronunciation and meter, from Shakespeare's coinages (not as many as we think), to his influences. You don't need to know anything about linguistics to understand this book; Crystal explains all the technical terms and concepts briefly and sufficiently, but if you do know about language, the book may interest you more. You won't find any criticism of the plays, or the Bard's style, in this book, but you will end up with a better appreciation of the many variables that fit together to make a Shakespeare play.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A Hodgepodge 2 Mar. 2009
By Seoigheach - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a Shakespeare fan and an admirer of David Crystal (try his fascinating survey on the English language, for example), I had high hopes for this book. I was looking for a combination of Mr. Crystal's scholarly and linguistic abilities with a close analysis of the language of the Bard, and while he delivers in that respect, the overall effect is inconclusive and unsatisfying.

The book is occupied with patterns of changing usage, typesetters' conventions, grammar in flux, etc., and its point seems to be that everything was in such a state of change that the variability you find in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and the like doesn't necessarily meaning anything. Fair enough, but I think those points could have been made in an essay.

On the other hand, Mr. Crystal does lead the reader through a careful, scholarly consideration of each of the topics, imparting a sense of what close textual analysis involves, and does give an excellent introduction to the difficulties in deciding upon an "authoritative" text (impossible), as well as the lack of significance of that problem.

If you really like Shakespeare and Crystal, check this out, but don't have great expectations.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
eatin in one gulp 23 April 2012
By realizm - Published on
Format: Paperback
Mr Crystal could not go wrong with a book like this; a book he was born to write. I read the entire 200 and some pages in one gulp in the aisle of a book store. Step by step, Mr Crystal will bring to vivid life aspects of Shakspeare you never dreamed were there.... Sorry Mr Crystal, but there's no reason to buy it now, but thanks for making it so interesting!
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