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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be overlooked., 12 Oct 2010
This review is from: "Titus Andronicus" (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare Third Series) (Paperback)
Titus Andronicus is probably one of Shakespeare's lesser known plays to most; I only read it as an outreach to something different, and to, hopefully, be surprised. I was very pleased with my choice as I enjoyed more than I did Othello (possibly just me, but I did none-the-less). However, I am not going to review Shakespeare as there are those far more qualified than I; I will just say that it is not your average Shakespeare play, lots of gruesome parts and no real love story going on.

I will review the Arden edition that I have purchased though: a fantastic set of explanatory notes, the indroduction by Jonathan Bate is one of the best by Arden I've read, with plenty of interesting topics to discuss and mull over and the appendices are another great set of notes. The publishing quality is very good, as always with Arden, too.

Overall, a great purchase, at an ever-Arden low price.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arden Shakespeare, 3 Nov 2007
By 
Spider Monkey (UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: "Titus Andronicus" (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare Third Series) (Paperback)
In some respects I think it'd be rather presumptuous of me to attempt to review Shakespeare. Someone so well known and influential wouldn't benefit from my opinions on their work, plus there are more scholarly and concise reviews out there. But I can comment on these Arden versions. Of all the Shakespeare I've read I've always found the Arden copies to be well laid out and to have excellent commentary and notes on the text. They really add to your understanding of Shakespeares outstanding plays and introduce you to the depth in his work. They have superb paper quality and are bound well, withstanding repeated readings and intensive study. For your collection of Shakespeare you can't do much better than Arden publications, some are quite hard to get hold of but it's worth the effort.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare at his best and most bloody, 21 Jan 2013
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This review is from: "Titus Andronicus" (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare Third Series) (Paperback)
Titus Andronicus... The story of a man who has spent his life in servitude to Rome and his Ceasar. He has had 25 sons, and at the beginning only five are left alive. He loves his children, yet when his daughter betrays him, and his son Mutius stands in his way, he cuts him down without a second thought. When his daughter LAvinia is mutilated (hands cut off, tongue cut out), he kills the perpetrators (bakes them in a pie Sweeny Todd style) then murders his daughter for the dishonour of being raped.

Tamora, Queen of the Goths (Germans)... a feisty, power-hungry woman who is an early Queen Margaret (Henry VI) and Lady Macbeth together. She swears revenge on Titus for the murder of her sons in Act 1, Scene 1

I'm hoping a pattern is beginning to emerge for you :p This is Shakespeare's first revenge tragedy, and he copies heavily from Thomas Kyd. For if Kyd is said to have 'out-Herod Herod' (in terms of being nasty and brutal in dealings with people) then Shakespeare in this play is trying to out-Kyd Kyd :)

I was once told that this play, out of all 38 plays, can be neatly summed up as the WTF play :p x
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Titus reappraised, 5 Sep 2008
By 
Jon Chambers (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: "Titus Andronicus" (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare Third Series) (Paperback)
Titus Andonicus is often regarded as something of a joke: crude juvenilia, bloodthirsty sensationalism, tasteless exploitation. Consequently, it has frequently been excised from the canon. TS Eliot, for one, thought it 'one of the stupidest and most uninspired plays ever written'. Here, in this Arden 3rd edition, Jonathan Bate unapologetically champions the play and argues that it is authentically Shakespearean, structurally complex and, contrary to Eliot, 'one of the dramatist's most inventive plays'.

Bate certainly makes a persuasive case. He combines an easy, conversational eloquence with penchant analysis. What is made clear is that for a fuller appreciation of the play, we need to understand a contemporary audience's response to episodes which may seem puzzling to us. For example, the barbarian Goth who contemplates a monastery isn't so much a clumsy example of anachronism but an instructive image of escape from Roman tyranny - doubly so, firstly by means of the Goths' defeat of a decadent Rome, secondly through the Reformation's liberation of religion from an equally decadent Papacy. Bate reminds us, in this example, of how perceptions of Romans and Goths have changed over the intervening 400 years. The Goths, from an Elizabethan perspective, were not primarily destructive, shaggy-haired barbarians but a positive, reinvigorating people who helped European culture to flourish after centuries of imperial greed and misrule.

This edition is unconventional in its analysis of Elizabethan attitudes to revenge. I'd always thought that this was quite plain and unequivocal (' "Vengeance is mine, I will repay," said the Lord' being the commonly quoted Biblical text telling us that retribution is a divine, not human, prerogative.) Bate, however, refers to an essay by Bacon which presents an alternative, more ambivalent, view in which the public good is a key consideration. He follows this point up with a demonstration of how Titus, the avenger, is in some sense the embodiment of the legal process, and not simply an individual citizen taking the law into his own hands to right private wrongs.

And what does Bate say about the play's 'excessive violence'? Again, putting Titus in its historical context, he argues that, compared to the real horror and bloody spectacle of public execution, the play's violence is often sublimated through the artifice of masque.

The Arden 3rd edition has established a reputation for being thought-provoking and eloquent as well as authoritative. This, one of the earlier titles, is one that helped to establish that reputation.
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