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William Shakespeare: The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) [Paperback]

William Shakespeare , Stanley Wells , Gary Taylor , John Jowett , William Montgomery
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
RRP: £16.99
Price: £13.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

21 April 2005 Oxford Shakespeare
The second Oxford edition of Shakespeare's Complete Works reconsiders every detail of their text and presentation in the light of modern scholarship. The nature and authority of the early documents are re-examined, and the canon and chronological order of composition freshly established. Spelling and punctuation are modernized, and there is a brief introduction to each work, as well as an illuminating and informative General Introduction. Included here for the first time is the play The Reign of King Edward the Third as well as the full text of Sir Thomas More. This new edition also features an essay on Shakespeare's language by David Crystal, and a bibliography of foundational works.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1424 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 2 edition (21 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199267189
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199267187
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 17.1 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


remains the most distinctive, and in many ways the best, one-volume Shakespeare currently available and will not be easily replaced. (Forum for Modern Languages)

About the Author

Stanley Wells is Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and General Editor of the Oxford Shakespeare series. He is Emeritus Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Birmingham.

Gary Taylor (PhD Cambridge) is Professor in the English Department at the University of Alabama. He has published widely on Shakespeare, editing and the relationship of race and ethnicity to the history of literatures in English.

John Jowett is Associate General Editor of the Oxford Collected Works of Thomas Middleton, Co-Editor of the Oxford Complete Works of William Shakespeare and co-author of Shakespeare Reshaped 1606-23 (Clarendon Press). He has recently completed an edition of Richard III. His research interests include bibliography, editing and textual criticism, Renaissance theatre culture and print culture and Shakespeare's contemporary dramatists, especially Middleton.

William Montgomery - biography unavailable

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A scholar's text? 16 Jan 2011
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I teach Shakespeare at university level and this is the text that I use. It's certainly not perfect (what is?) and I recommend that students might also want to look at an Arden edition, especially for help with the language. Taylor and Wells have tried to provide us with the most accurate texts of Shakespeare's plays while admitting the caveat that this is a shifting position. The introduction is good on the literary and theatrical background, the volume is robust and well-produced, and the bibliography of further reading is useful.

On the negative side, this uses a fairly small font so some readers might find that a problem. It also, as other reviewers say, doesn't include explanatory notes on the plays themselves or the language, though there is a glossary at the back. The size and weight of the book makes it hefty to carry around and read.

On the positive side, however, I like the fact that this is an edition produced by textual scholars and is as reliable as it's possible to be. I also like that it returns us to the titles under which the plays were known and/or written in their own time, rather than the modern versions, and don't think this is just the editors being gimmicky.

So if you're a Shakespeare 'beginner' and unfamiliar or uncomfortable with sixteenth century language then this might not be the best edition, and I would recommend the Ardens. But if you are a general reader, a student familiar with Shakespeare or someone wanting to experience the plays as they were without needing story summaries and interpretations, then I would recommended this, especially at this price.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bard at his best 19 Aug 2010
By P
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although I don't own any of the alternative 'complete works' publications (I have also heard, for example, good things said about the RSC complete works edition) for me at least, this Oxford edition is simply an essential part of any fans library. Indeed, it's a great version for anybody who may be studying Shakespeare, but is not full of 'study notes' at the bottom of every page (which I don't like). Instead what we have here is the truly complete (as far as we know at least) canon of the Bard's works. They are presented in a form that is as close to what Shakespeare intended them to be, as is possible to get (at least to our understanding).

Before each play, there is a brief (one page) background introducing the context of the play, and what we know of its performance history, how it was received by critics and audiences, as well as the editors own justifications for having presented the play in such a way that either incorporates, or omits, elements from previous publications (mainly from the good or bad quartos and folios). It's also a real treat to have, for the first time, two different versions of King Lear reproduced in here (purely because we don't know which version in the 'definitive' one).

I own the first edition of this (published back in 1986 or '87 I think) but I have to say I believe this second edition really does surpass it. Not only do you now get more, but you also have, by way of introduction to the volume, a very detailed account of why new things have been included, as well as any reassessments which have been made of the works since 1987.

In conclusion then, a real gem, and a must have for anybody who was ever into Shakespeare, or indeed literature and the English language in general. I can't recommend it highly enough!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive and beyond 8 Mar 2010
The Oxford Shakespeare is the best single-volume complete works that I've come across. It's particularly good for those who want to look at the plays and poems as they were written, rather than how they developed, as a great deal of effort has gone into trying to construct the most accurate versions of the texts. This is a good attempt to reconstruct the plays as a Renaissance audience would have know them (albeit with modern spellings) and as such is a must for students of 16th and 17th century drama. A particular bonus is the inclusion of the passages believed to be written by Shakespeare from Sir Thomas More and summaries of the lost works Cardenio and Love's Labour's Won.

If you're studying or performing one of plays then do get an individual edition with detailed notes, but as a reference tool this is tough to beat.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for bedtime reading! 22 Aug 2011
I'll keep this short. This is a scholarly and beautifully produced edition of the writer who created our mind-map. If, like me, you're constantly re-reading or teaching these plays, it's not especially convenient to sit down and enjoy - too heavy and the wrong size. I love to sit up and read Shakespeare and/or Dickens in bed, especially during the winter months; from that point of view I find the Everyman edition in several volumes unbeatable, primarily because it has larger, clearer print and one column of text per page for my tired old eyes.
If all of that doesn't bother you however, and you want the plays in one volume, this handsome tome may suit you well!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very nice edition to add to your library 11 Sep 2013
By Alain
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first thing that struck me about this Oxford edition is that, unlike in many other editions, there are no marginal glosses and endless footnotes cluttering the text. If you prefer to have them, then this edition is not for you. There is, however, a partial glossary in the back; for further assistance, this edition also includes a bibliography, which is quite extensive.
For those smitten (bitten?) by the Bard, or who love the English language, or both, top-notch dictionaries are indispensable. My two favourites are the two-volume Shorter Oxford and Webster's Second. The latter has been out of print for more than 50 years, but it's not too difficult to find one that is in at least reasonably good condition.
Lastly, it should be noted that the four scholars who review the works have made changes when such changes were deemed more in keeping with Shakespeare's original work; this is explained in detail in the General Introduction and in the User's Guide.
Great edition, highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
What an edition, I look forward to reading the entire work.
Published 1 month ago by Keith A. Pringle
3.0 out of 5 stars More (or at least some) work needed for the Kindle edition
This is a review of the Kindle edition. I am mostly a fan of the Oxford editors approach to the representation of Shakespeare's plays, favouring readings which reflect performance,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by P. KINCAID
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really recommended on the Kindle
I adore Shakespeare and the idea of having his complete works in my pocket is wonderful, but this version is badly designed. Firstly, the searching is very poor. Read more
Published 8 months ago by O. G. M. Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior collection
If you love Shakespeare you will find this collection indispensable. It includes all the plays and sonnets. The accompanying notes are very helpful.
Published 11 months ago by Andrea
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent copy in good condition.
It is an academic tome and therefore very dry in language and tone. However, the introduction and index facilitated accurate and speedy reading and research. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Chantal Heaven
5.0 out of 5 stars PERFECT
This is a must buy for all shakespeare lovers! Currently studying English at Loughborough there are many plays within this collection that I have to know well and with its clear... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Immie
2.0 out of 5 stars Very difficult to navigate, incredibly light on extra content.
As a student of English I reckoned this would be much more convenient than lugging around the physical copy. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mr. Dean G. Jennings
5.0 out of 5 stars Arrived quickly and in good condition
I bought this as a present for my father who loves it. It's very compact for the complete works. I was looking for something that didn't have too many students notes after each... Read more
Published 13 months ago by SJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Ok
I thought I was buying a modern
version disappointed to find it same as my existing my fault gave granddaughter
Published 15 months ago by MrsP R
5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare;Complete Works
Excellent hardback edition of The Bard's works , superbly produced and edited , a pleasure to dip into and consult.
Published 20 months ago by PJB
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