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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A light read it is not. Great literature?...Oh yes!, 20 Oct 2000
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Troilus and Cressida, is not well-known as one of Shakespeare's great plays; it has for the most part largely been ignored by the literary world, due to its length, its philosophical under belly and complex story line. I would not recommend it, if you're searching for a light 'bed-time' read, full of typical Shakespearean humour and lovable rogues. Troilus is the work of a mature and experimenting Shakespeare, and thus it has, for the most part been neglected by critics, yet, because it is so unique it should not be ignored. It is an extremely satisfying read, giving a brilliant insight into the darker side of Shakespeare's fascinating mind.
Troilus and Cressida is undoubtedly one of Shakespeare's most ambiguous, puzzling, and therefore most disconcerting plays. The complex and unsettling nature of the play is deliberate, and throughout, Shakespeare presents to us one universal society that we would rather not see. The subversion of the Trojan War which acts as a canvas of the play, is one such ploy to provoke us into thinking about the corruption and hypocrisy of Shakespeare's 16th century society. The great Greek storyteller Homer, first told the tale of the Trojan War in the Iliad and the Odyssey, depicting the warriors, both Greek and Trojans; Aeneas, Achilles, Hector, Ajax, Menelaus, Diomedes and Ulysses - as great heroes worthy of imitation. Shakespeare appears to depict them as quite human, vulgar, pompous and stupid. Shakespeare does not re-tell the story of this epic war and legendary struggle; his play apparently seems to conjure up a bitter and deflating account of the war. Troilus and Crssisda presents us a society driven by the want of immediate consumption and disloyalty both in terms of love and allegiance. However, it is up to us to decide whether any one character is able to rise above the foolish greed that surrounds them.
This Arden edition provides its' readers with a detailed yet very readable collection of notes, conveniently running along side the play. It also provides an extremely well written, yet not overwhelmingly profound group of introductory essays (perfect for the easygoing student). Troilus and Cressida may not officially be regarded as a 'great work' of Shakespeare, but it is thoroughly engaging despite its intricate plot, in my humble view it is most certainly - 'great' - and I would definitely recommend it to all. ENJOY!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good edition of these plays, 23 Jan 2013
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This review is from: "Troilus and Cressida" (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare Third Series) (Paperback)
Excellent version(s) of all of the plays with loads of very high quality extras, notes and explanations. Best around without doubt
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare: help on this less common play, 29 Sep 2009
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I went to see Troilus and Cressida at the Globe and I have listened to it on the radio. I enjoyed both performances and then read it in a collection of Shakespeare plays that had no notes and no introduction. I have found the Arden Shakespeares informative and interesting in the past. So I chose this one, from the many available publishers, and did not regret my choice. I like an interpretation that gives some justice to the cultural context of the time and does not impose a modern framework that seeks to update Shakespeare or use him to beat a drum for modern sensibilities. It does of course give a reading and seeks to justify the reading, but it is well done and gives you something to think about as you read the play again. I also find that some of the obscure or dense passages illuminated by a scholar. Otherwise how can you know what some of the words or phrases meant then?
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thoroughly Recommendable Edition of a Dramatic Shakespeare's Play, 27 Mar 2009
This is the second Shakespeare's play to have kept me wanting to find out what actually happens. Arguably this may have resulted from my having read Chaucer's "Troilus", which story cannot be outdone in its emotionless pursuit of intellectual ends, but this "Troilus" of itself is still truly laudable as an instance of Shakespeare's drama having some dramatic quality besides great verse speeches to admire. Since Shakespeare is overstudied I am not taking the trouble to review the play itself. Briefly, for the interested general reader, the play as published in the quarto and the Folio purports to be a love story in time of war. What it actually is is rather a war story over the course of a love affair. Troilus and Cressida are not another Romeo and Juliet; it is love as a concept itself that is at the bar here.

Uniquely, Arden Third Series has chosen the Folio text as a copytext for this edition. The editor's argument is thus. Although the play is one of those Shakespeare's plays that seem to have existed in more than one version, the differences between the quarto and the Folio versions of "Troilus" are practically only in word choices. As one's reading is very rarely obviously preferable to the other's, the Foilo text which might plausibly represent a later authorial revision than the earlier quarto text was chosen. Throughout the two texts have been rigorously checked against each other and various editions consulted. All the differences are discussed in the commentary, in which manner, argues the editor, the two versions can be better compared because they do not differ in the way that reading through them separately would be disparate experiences. In the great Arden tradition, significant variances between the early editions are footnoted, as well as the orginal printed text where there has been in the editor's view semantically impinging modernization and editorial emendation, even though in the case of "Troilus" this commitment renders the textual notes, in the editor's words, "burdensomely numerous".

The Arden edition continues to endeavour to place all the notes alongside the text. The luxuriant superplenitude of Shakespeare's overstudies however is compelling the third series to begin assigning "longer notes" to the back. I have always considered side-by-side notes and text as the Arden Shakespeare's greatest virtue and have found myself indeed fairly willing to forgo scholarly guidance when it requires turning to the back. Nevertheless this edition must still surely be as good as the best edition can be. The printing is again attractive, especially in this buckram hardback edition which is a pleasure to hold and evidently more able to withstand repeated handling - if only the demanded price is not quite so exorbitant! The ever-expanding introduction is devoted more or less exclusively to critical and historical readings of the play whilst Shakespeare's sources for this story and the two versions of the text are discussed at the end. Recommended for the cultured general readers and specialists alike.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality of service and product, 17 May 2011
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F. Jacobsen (U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This book arrived promptly and in perfect condition. It was offered at a reduced price and, in addition, there was no charge for the postage making it a very economical purchase.
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars previous review is for the arden edition, not this cambridge edition!, 23 Aug 2007
All these study companions provide is condensed knowledge and opinion, preventing the student for studying with an open mind. Try reading the play without notes to get your own opinion before reading the 'experts' opinions. There is a wordsworth edition of this play with no notes available muuch cheaper than these study companions!
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