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The Merchant of Venice: Third Series (Arden Shakespeare) Paperback – 6 Feb 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Arden Shakespeare; Third Series edition (6 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903436818
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903436813
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

John Drakakis is Professor of English Studies at the University of Stirling, Scotland.


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Arden General Editors have done their brand no service with this version of The Merchant of Venice, edited by Professor John Drakakis.
The value of the Arden editions for the general reader lies in the introductions and in the footnotes. While this introduction does have many useful and interesting points to make, it is one of the most boring and repetitious pieces of prose that I have come across in a long time. Can the Arden editorial board not find a copy editor capable of doing a decent job?
As for the footnotes, I take as an example Professor Drakakis' explanation of the last line of Act 1 Scene 3, where Antonio assures Bassanio that "My ships come home a month before the day."
We already know that Antonio is going to seal a bond promising to repay Shylock's loan in three months. In lines 153 - 155 of this scene, Antonio spells out the expected timetable in terms that leave no room for doubt:
"Within these two months, that's a month before
This bond expires, I do expect return
Of thrice three times the value of this bond."
The "return" refers to the money, or the profit, that Antonio will receive when his ships come home. In the last line of the scene, Antonio is merely reminding Bassanio of this fact.
But Professor Drakakis tells us that the phrase "my ships come home a month before the day" means something altogether different, namely that Antonio's ships will come home a "month before their due date of arrival." So, Antonio has told us that his ships are due back in two months, and we are now expected to believe that, in the course of 25 lines during which he remains on stage with Shylock and Bassanio, and nobody else comes in, he has somehow received intelligence to the effect that his ships are a month ahead of schedule.
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Format: Paperback
A regular but not specifically scholarly student of Shakespeare, I've found these Arden editions invaluable for their illuminating introductions, insightful footnotes and (often unexpectedly) useful appendices. Before studying a play in my weekly class I read the introduction first, to set the scene for myself. And I have over a dozen of these Arden Third Series plays. But this introduction does not seem designed to help the student. Too esoteric, reading more like a PhD thesis, I abandoned the introduction halfway through reading it when I realised I couldn't understand or follow what the Editor is on about, and resorted to the Second Series 1955 edition of John Russell Brown's whose introduction doesn't seem designed to shut out all but the scholarly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Arden - the acme of scholarship - have done it again with a wondrous edition of Merchant. Clear as a bell with footnotes aplenty, the staff of Arden should be patting themselves on the back with what is a wondrous achievement
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