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Customer Review

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A scholar's text?, 16 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: William Shakespeare: The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) (Paperback)
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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