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The RSC Shakespeare: The Complete Works Paperback – 21 Apr 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 133 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 2552 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 2007 edition (21 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230200958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230200951
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 6.7 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review




'One of the virtues of the approach Bate and Rasmussen have taken is to offer fresh ways of presenting the plays' - Peter Holland, TLS

'This new Complete Works from the RSC is a glorious edition of one of the world's most important books. It's the essential reference book for anyone who's ever been in love, felt jealousy, fear, hatred, or desire. All human life is here - and every home should have one.' - Dame Judi Dench

'The paper quality and page design are excellent, and the illustrations in the introductory materials are lavish and well reproduced ...a virtual comet-tail of supplementary materials are to be found at www.rscshakespeare.co.uk - the RSC is certainly the first edition of Shakespeare to provide a link to it's editor's blog.... Bate's general introduction to Shakespeare's life, stage and reputation is superb, and the short introductions to individual works, in particular, are among the best of their kind available...they manage to speak about what really matters about the plays to readers who wish, whether they are already familiar with them or not, to come to them freshly.' - Michael Dobson, writing in The London Review of Books

'Timely, original, and beautifully conceived, the RSC edition makes Shakespeare's extraordinary accomplishment more vivid than ever.' - James Shapiro, Professor, Columbia University and prize-winning author of 1599: A Year in the Life of Shakespeare

'Everything about this edition is outstanding. To begin with, it's an attractively produced volume of the plays based on the 1623 First Folio, the landmark Shakespeare edition. Second, it's the work of two fine scholars who have harvested the labours of many experts to produce an edition that contains the fruit of the best contemporary research. Third, this exemplary text has greatly benefited from the active involvement of the RSC, a company whose recent work has exhibited an almost obsessional devotion to the meaning of Shakespeare's words in performance.' - Robert McCrum writing in The Observer

'A handsome volume...printed on fine paper and elegantly designed... This is a beautiful book that will be a pleasure to own.' - Good Book Guide

'Professor Jonathan Bate has written thought provoking essays for each play, discussing the source material and its influence on the play as well as pointing out the familiarities...for...contemporary audiences... The glossary includes much that has been ignored in the past, enlightening the new student...as well as adding to the vocabulary of those who have been enjoying his plays all their lives... This volume is an invaluable resource to anyone interested in or simply in love with Shakespeare.' - Speech and Drama

'... anyone who wants a good single volume edition of the plays... won't do better than this.' - Tribune

'Bate provides excellent introductory essays to each play and his terrific introduction, simply and effectively summarising everything you need to know about Shakespeare, man and work, is alone worth buying the edition for.' - The Daily Express

'Thanks to Bate and Rasmussen, we now have a rendering of the Complete Works that, in a rare publishing achievement, would also give complete satisfaction to the author himself.' - Robert McCrum, The Observer

'A magnificent new volume.' - A. N. Wilson, Daily Telegraph

'A triumphant addition to our times.' - Fiona Shaw, The Times

'This outstanding new edition of Shakespeare's plays is the closest yet to the originals ... a new and thoroughly radical edition ... supervised by Jonathan Bate, an outstanding scholar (and author of the best existing biography of Shakespeare) who writes with as much elegance as insight about the making of theatre and the creation of the plays... an impeccably informative introduction gives a comprehensive theatrical, social, political and biographical context to the plays. There are pithy essays, also by Bate, to introduce each play as well as exemplary notes at the foot of each page which translate verbal and topical obscurities ... for actors and directors it will be incomparably useful, but for any curious reader of Shakespeare's plays it provides an invaluable guide to reading them not as novels or dramatic poems, but as they were intended to be read: blueprints for live performance.' - Richard Eyre, The Sunday Telegraph

'Excellent, succinct notes and introductions to each play.'- John Carey, The Sunday Times

'A splendid edition. The general introduction is among the best 50-page guides to Shakespeare you could hope to find, while the short essays prefixed to each play are like the best kind of programme notes - informative, thought-provoking and humane. Marginal notes help readers imagine what's happening onstage ... The RSC's edition tells you all you need to know about the life, but also, vitally, allows you to lose yourself in the wonder of the works.' -
Dr Colin Burrow, All Souls College, Oxford University, writing in The Evening Standard


'This is a handsome and fascinating edition, elegantly set and easy to read.' - The Australian
 
'The Complete Works has become the one-volume Shakespeare of choice.' - Plays International
 
'This marvellous Complete Works has the advantage of being both scholarly and eminently readable...If the motivation behind this new publication was to make Shakespeare more accessible, then one can only praise all the parties involved.  This is an edition set to last...and to treasure.' - Lancashire Evening Post
 
Listed as one of Brian Blessed's 'My Six Best Books' - The Daily Express
 
'... a timely reflection of the recent critical re-engagement with the significance of the Folio texts.' - English Studies

Review

'This new Complete Works from the RSC is a glorious edition of one of the world's most important books. It's the essential reference book for anyone who's ever been in love, felt jealousy, fear, hatred, or desire. All human life is here - and every home should have one.' - Dame Judi Dench

'Timely, original, and beautifully conceived, the RSC edition makes Shakespeare's extraordinary accomplishment more vivid than ever.' - James Shapiro, Professor, Columbia University and prize-winning author of 1599: A Year in the Life of Shakespeare

'Excellent, succinct notes and introductions to each play.'- John Carey, The Sunday Times

'The paper quality and page design are excellent, and the illustrations in the introductory materials are lavish and well reproduced ...a virtual comet-tail of supplementary materials are to be found at www.rscshakespeare.co.uk - the RSC is certainly the first edition of Shakespeare to provide a link to its editor's blog.... Bate's general introduction to Shakespeare's life, stage and reputation is superb, and the short introductions to individual works, in particular, are among the best of their kind available...they manage to speak about what really matters about the plays to readers who wish, whether they are already familiar with them or not, to come to them freshly. ' - Professor Michael Dobson, writing in The London Review of Books

'This outstanding new edition of Shakespeare's plays is the closest yet to the originals ... a new and thoroughly radical edition ... supervised by Jonathan Bate, an outstanding scholar (and author of the best existing biography of Shakespeare) who writes with as much elegance as insight about the making of theatre and the creation of the plays... an impeccably informative introduction gives a comprehensive theatrical, social, political and biographical context to the plays. There are pithy essays, also by Bate, to introduce each play as well as exemplary notes at the foot of each page which translate verbal and topical obscurities ... for actors and directors it will be incomparably useful, but for any curious reader of Shakespeare's plays it provides an invaluable guide to reading them not as novels or dramatic poems, but as they were intended to be read: blueprints for live performance.' - Richard Eyre, The Sunday Telegraph

'Jonathan Bate is a passionate advocate of Shakespeare and his introductions to individual plays are full of striking and convincing observations...The scholarly apparatus is discreet, elegant and pertinent. For each play, we getbrief accounts of plots, dates and sources, and useful statistics about the proportions of verse to prose and the length of the major parts. Footnotes are found snugly and legibly at the bottom of each page. The 41 lines in the opening soliloquy of Richard III, for example, generates three dozen clarifications, elucidating dynastic facts, glossing unfamiliar items of vocabulary, paraphrasing tricky meanings and uncovering bawdy puns. There is a universe to be found in these annotations: the Renaissance world of power and fate, sex and death, language and philosophy. Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen have given us an edition full of endless fascination.' - Tom Deveson,Times Educational Supplement

'A splendid edition. The general introduction is among the best 50-page guides to Shakespeare you could hope to find, while the short essays prefixed to each play are like the best kind of programme notes - informative, thought-provoking and humane. Marginal notes help readers imagine what's happening onstage ... The RSC's edition tells you all you need to know about the life, but also, vitally, allows you to lose yourself in the wonder of the works.' -

Dr Colin Burrow, All Souls College, Oxford University, writing in The Evening Standard

'Thanks to Bate and Rasmussen, we now have a rendering of the Complete Works that, in a rare publishing achievement, would also give complete satisfaction to the author himself.' - Robert McCrum, The Observer

'A magnificent new volume.' - A. N. Wilson, Daily Telegraph

'A triumphant addition to our times.' - Fiona Shaw, The Times

'One of the virtues of the approach Bate and Rasmussen have taken is to offer fresh ways of presenting the plays...I look forward to using it at my desk and perhaps in my classroom over many years...' - Peter Holland, Times Literary Supplement

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Beautiful edition, beautiful book. Has really helpful definitions at the bottom of the page, plus introductions to each play! I bought a paperback copy and couldn't be happier, the book is big but when I read the pages in the middle I have no problems! As for the paper, I wouldn't let it put you off, yes the paper is thin and not like a normal novel, but slightly thicker than bible paper and I have no problem reading it
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good book containing the full works of shakespeare. I have however marked it down a little, as the pages are very thin. It would work well as a refference book, but I don't think it would stand up well to heavy use.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just a few comments about the 'readability' of this edition.

I've recently received my own hardback copy and I'm delighted with it, despite being a user of 2.5 ds reading glasses .

Yes, there is some show-through on each page but nowhere does it affect my reading of the text. The effect is more obvious because each play's text is (happily) set in single lines and not double columns, leaving a fair amount of white space on the right-hand side of the page. Overall, I would say that the show-through is similar to that of my Chambers Dictionary, but reduced by superior paper quality. In truth, I just don't notice it when I'm reading.

As for the notes at the bottom of each page, I find them completely readable and sufficently helpful for the general reader.I would suggest however that for serious study, individual play editions with more comprehensive notes would be preferable.

In every other respect I can only agree with most reviewers that this is quite wonderful edition and extraordinary value for money.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is exactly the right book for me, having decided to tackle as many Shakespeare plays as possible while listening to the audio versions. The introduction and text notes are all excellent.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The type design is superb. Usually with a complete Shakespeare you need a magnifying glass. With this book the plays are a pleasure to read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantastic collection but the paper is very thin, scared of ripping the pages!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This British edition of the RSC Complete Works is superior to the American edition: not only is the paper of a noticeably higher quality, it also has two placeholder ribbons. A lovely addition to my Shakespeare collection!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The whole works, well annotated and helpful introductions - an absolute bargain.
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