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18 Reviews
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57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superior Complete Works
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...
Published on 7 April 2005 by Mr. J. Drinkwater

versus
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars poorly bound
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...
Published on 1 Feb. 2010 by Samantha


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57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superior Complete Works, 7 April 2005
By 
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.;
* genealogical tables, choronology, facsimiles of the frontispiece, introduction, commemorations and contents pages of the first Folio;
* copious illustrations in the 6-7 large-page, small-text introductions to each play;
* textual notes, and bibliographies for each play
* 20-page general bibliography on critics, history, performance, textual criticism, contexts;
* 3 versions of King Lear!;
* includes Two Noble Kinsmen, the Funeral elegy, and explanations/summaries of the missing works;
* 100-pages of Documents, and 80-page general introduction.
This is truly a complete and comperehensive Shakespeare edition.
BUY!
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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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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bard, 1 Sept. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Norton Shakespeare (Hardcover)
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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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Available, 15 Sept. 2004
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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 amazon.com. 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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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
By 
Tried and Tested (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Norton Shakespeare: Based on the Oxford Edition (Hardcover)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get it, 11 Mar. 2008
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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.
My only criticism is the thin pages in such a thick book. It really needs to be in several volumes and with comb bound or wire bound edition to allow it to lie flat on the desk or table whilst you are studying. Humping the all-in-one bound version is great for weight training but you need great resolve to attempt to take it on holiday! Good luck.
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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 (Canberra, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Norton Shakespeare: Based on the Oxford Edition (Hardcover)
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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9 of 10 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oxford + notes = Norton, 13 Sept. 2012
By 
Hawfinch - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Norton Shakespeare: Based on the Oxford Edition (Hardcover)
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 scholarship, particularly regarding the evolution of the plays and the fact that the quarto and folio texts likely represent different stages in that evolution.

For the student, this edition goes one better than Oxford by incorporating marginal notes translating archaic words, and footnotes explaining difficult passages. Some of these explanations are a little too simplistic, but they give a puzzled reader enough information to grasp the general meaning and move on. Personally, I adore the detailed discussions in the footnotes of the Arden single-play editions (dismissed by another reviewer here as "scholarly fluff"), but it would be ridiculous to incorporate that amount of analysis for all the plays in a single book. You'd need a forklift to carry it.

I'd unhesitatingly recommend this to anyone reading Shakespeare for pleasure. For school or university use, this should be a safe purchase, though it would be best to check first with your course tutor, as there will be some editorial differences between this edition and the older, "standard" Shakespeares that your coursework may be based on. For those who are interested, the Oxford editors Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor give an account of all their editorial decisions in "William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion", published by Norton.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars beware edition, 7 Jan. 2013
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The Norton Shakespeare: Based on the Oxford Shakespeare

If you are buying this for Open University module AA306, beware of this first edition. I just bought this having tracked it down whilst bargain-seeking, clicking on links for the author etc, and mistakenly thought that "textbook bound" - a stronger paperback binding,from the Amazon description - was an alternative cover of the book I wanted which should in fact have been the 2nd edition (2008)- my fault, I should have asked the seller for the edition and ISBN number and would have been apparent. Lesson learnt - never make assumptions :-) Some you win, some you lose!
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Norton Shakespeare: Based on the Oxford Edition
Norton Shakespeare: Based on the Oxford Edition by Stephen Greenblatt (Hardcover - 25 April 2008)
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