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4.6 out of 5 stars
9
4.6 out of 5 stars

on 1 August 2017
Excellent
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on 27 March 2017
perfect
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on 20 June 2012
Tragedies Volume 2: v. 2 (Everyman's Library Classics)
I spent some time agonizing over this book and indeed the set before purchasing. I wondered if it was American. The absence of any reviews, except a one star review with several contradictory comments to it for the Tragedies volume, was not encouraging. The postman was very late and I eagerly opened it when it came. Very impressed. A good size book, not one you would take on the bus (but i have Kindle for that)in excellent condition, seemingly unread (i got a used one). Good paper, a nice bookmark. Easy to read text. Substantial introduction by Tony Tanner late of King's College Cambridge, and edited by (sadly) a man called Sylvan Barnet who is, of course, American. Sadly sadly I have to say it is in American spelling. I am trying to be positive about this (because I have ordered the entire set, used, so I cannot return them really, well its hardly worth it with the postage).

I looked up the British editions of Scott Fitzgerald and see that we do put British English ; his "colored" is rendered "coloured"in British editions. However in a scholarly text it does not seem right. The introduction is immense and probably very valuable to a student as it has the authority of King's College, Cambridge. Its a bit international as goes provenance. It was typeset by MS Filmsetting in Frome (Somerset UK), printed and bound in Germany, published by David Campbell Publishers Ltd , London, WI. Distributed by Random House (UK). It is Random House that took over Everyman from Dent in 2002, except for the paperbacks which Dent retained. Yet it appears to be Everyman, stating first appeared in 1906 and is Everyman's Library 205. Has the "Everyman I will go with thee, and be thy guide, in thy most need to go by thy side" printed in the book. So it must be Everyman, American Everyman.

I need to have a copy that I can sit comfortably with ,and hold, and this is that. It is clear to read. It is a question of what is available. All the one volume Shakespeares are too heavy to hold and with the exception of the RSC, cramped and small text. I bought both tragedy volumes for about £6 which is round about a pound per play, and not very much more than the cost of postage, now it has gone up so much. So on the whole I like it, but what a major snag having American Spelling and publishers should be more open about this in their book descriptions. I have had three volumes of the entire set delivered and all are in "as new" condition. I suspect the set is not selling because the UK will not pay out £12 for a book with "favor" rather than "favour", and I would not buy it new, but I will for £2.81, and the text is big enough for my OAP eyes. The times I have checked the text i have seen no serious differences, punctuation is sometimes different but Shakespeare's punctuation was all to pot anyway. There has been modernisation ,for example "seem'd" is translated as "seemed" which is unfortunate. I have found out that Shakespeare used the apostrophe as in "seem'd" to indicate , that to complete the sense of the line, it had to be pronounced "seemed with a LONG E" . This means that the verse doesn't scan unless you know this and put the correct intonation in. I will have to sit with the RSC Shakespeare with me , inserting apostrophes.

I have to say that I find American scholarship not rigorous enough with English texts such as Shakespeare, and no doubt they do the same thing with John Donne and Edmund Spenser. This is due I think to their lauguage having evolved away from our native English (understandably) and they are not able to pick up sublities like, for instance, that "seem'd".

I got a used book through "Fulfilled by Amazon" which was a bit more expensive but worth it for Amazon reliability in delivering and returns. I hope this helps other shoppers.
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on 19 June 2012
I looked into Everyman, with whom I grew up, book-wise. They were a reputable, very reputable publisher of classic works. In 2002 control passed to Random House an American firm, The Signet series was published in the '90s so should be free of American accent, but I have received one that I ordered, to check. It does have American spelling. But there is a lot of good in this book. It is comfortable to hold and read, and large enough typescript for OAP. Good quality paper and binding and a bookmark. Substantial introductory essays, from Tony Tanner late of King's College Cambridge. And one has to be careful of criticism. In fact "Love's Labor's Lost" as a title in the companion "Comedies" volume is not an Americanism. It is exactly as it was spelt in the original manuscript quarto. So USA "labor" is nearer to Shakespearean language than Britain. Some of the punctuation is changed which is annoying, but Shakespeare's punctuation was all to pot anyway. Maybe I would not have paid full-price for this (I paid two or three pound for a used copy) but for what I spent very good, hardly more than the cost of postage. This was typeset by a firm in Somerset(UK) printed and bound in Germany, published in London , and its spiritual home is mid Atlantic.Hope this helps you shoppers.
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on 18 August 2015
I own these already in dog eared paperbacks. But some books need to be owned in hardback. Revisiting each play over the last week what strikes me is a) how much i remember..and it was a long time ago at school and b) how relevant and modern in so many ways they are.The edition is great and i disagree with a comment around the font as i found them easy to read and follow. Great introduction if you are academically inclined if not read,enjoy ,savour. Put away re read re read ad infinitum. I own several everyman editions mostly Dostoeyevsky's works of genius but this i'd recommend as not too big to hold yet robust enough to last.
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on 18 June 2012
Comedies Volume 1: v. 1 (Everyman Signet Shakespeare)

I spent some time agonizing over this book and indeed the set before purchasing. I wondered if it was American. The absence of any reviews, except a one star review with several contradictory comments to it for the Tragedies volume, was not encouraging. The postman was very late and I eagerly opened it when it came. Very impressed. A good size book, not one you would take on the bus (but i have Kindle for that)in excellent condition, seemingly unread (i got a used one). Good paper, a nice bookmark. Easy to read text. Substantial introduction by Tony Tanner late of King's College Cambridge, and edited by (sadly) a man called Sylvan Barnet who is, of course, American. Sadly sadly I have to say it is in American spelling. I am trying to be positive about this (because I have ordered the entire set, used, so I cannot return them really, well its hardly worth it with the postage). I looked up the British editions of Scott Fitzgerald and see that we do put British English ; his "colored" is rendered "coloured"in British editions. However in a scholarly text it does not seem right. The introduction is immense and probably very valuable to a student as it has the authority of King's College, Cambridge. Its a bit international as goes provenance. It was typeset by MS Filmsetting in Frome (Somerset UK), printed and bound in Germany, published by David Campbell Publishers Ltd , London, WI. Distributed by Random House (UK). It is Random House that took over Everyman from Dent in 2002, except for the paperbacks which Dent retained. Yet it appears to be Everyman, stating first appeared in 1906 and is Everyman's Library 205. Has the "Everyman I will go with thee, and be thy guide, in thy most need to go by thy side" printed in the book. So it must be Everyman, American Everyman.

I was watching for mistakes, in 1:i "civil" for "cruel" and Fennel" for "female" seemed to me gross errors, and I blamed it on poor scholarship in USA as well as their lack of access to original Quartos and Folios. But on checking I find there is good authority for both versions. Also I thought "Love's Labor's Lost" was Americanized spelling. However I find that it was spelt "labor" in the Quarto manuscript. So one must be aware of prejudice.I need to have a copy that I can sit comfortably with ,and hold, and this is that. It is clear to read. It is a question of what is available. All the one volume Shakespeares are too heavy to hold and with the exception of the RSC, cramped and small text. I dont think the Kindle suits Shakespeare, not at home, so the only other possibilities is buying the plays one by one. I bought the whole set (not the poems) for about £23 ( used) so that is very cheap per play, and not very much more than the cost of postage, now it has gone up so much. So on the whole I like it, but what a major snag having American Spelling and publishers should be more open about this in their book descriptions. I hope this helps other shoppers. PS I have put up some pics of Comedies Volume I for illustration.
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on 12 June 2016
I like this edition of Shakespeare because of the clear type-face. Recommended.
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on 22 April 2015
Its wonderful and the price is as little as you can't imagine
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HALL OF FAMEon 19 September 2005
This is a collection of Shakespeare's tragedies, of which these four are but a portion:
--Hamlet--
This play, of course, is perhaps the best known in all of English literature. Taking it's inspiration from lesser plays and tales of the same name, Shakespeare crafted the characters, dialogue and plot into a timeless tale of betrayal, the quest for justice, and ultimately a hollow victory. This play, in short, is a downer.
I will speak daggers to her, but use none.
Of course, it really thrilled the audiences, who, lacking the primetime violence of today, enjoyed seeing the blood, the gore, the violence, the swordplay. Those with a more subtle bent were very satisfied with the wonderful dialogues, full of double and self-reflexive meanings. So many of the monologues have become common parlance in our language.
A hit, a very palpable hit.
The 'on one foot' synopsis: Hamlet, prince of Denmark, is suspicious that his step-father killed his father and usurped the throne and his mother's bedchamber; he plots to get revenge; in the meantime his love-interest Ophelia dies; in a duel to the death at the end the mother dies, the step-father dies, the duel contender dies, and Hamlet dies. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
The rest is silence.
--Othello--
Rude I am in speech,
And little blessed with the soft phrase of peace
Surely Shakespeare was not speaking of himself here. Even his poorly-spoken characters cannot help to have an elegance and subtlety all their own. Othello is another tragedy, this one driven by jealousy. The exact cause of the jealousy can vary; Iago can be jealous of Othello, of his love for Desdemona, of Desdemona herself, or several other possibilities. The emphasis often lies in the performance, and Shakespeare's play is written broadly enough to allow for any of these to be correct interpretations.
But men are men; the best sometimes forget.
Othello satisfied the need for violence, for passion, and for intrigue. 'On one foot', Iago, servant and friend of Othello, who also hates Othello, plants the seeds of suspicion that Desdemona has been unfaithful, leading Othello down a treacherous path that leads in his ultimate murder of Desdemona.
Take note, take note, O world!
To be direct and honest is not safe.
During one performance in the American Old West, an audience member became so entranced and enraged with the actor's portrayal of Iago that he took out his pistol and shot him. The tombstone of the actor reads 'Here lies the greatest actor'.
--King Lear--
The prince of darkness is a gentleman.
This most difficult of Shakespeare plays, both for performing and for studying, is one of the true masterpieces of English (or any) literature, and yet is underperformed and underappreciated due to the power of its complexity and of its tragedy. Indeed, often the tragedy at the end has been softened by having Cordelia survive victorious. Beware these kinds of performances--they not Shakespeare's intent, however much we wish.
Lear begins with folly, and ends in tragedy, while treachery and evil seems to creep like a vine choking off first this person, then that. The fool is the only wise one; the insane are the only protected, and the nobles increasingly lose nobility of intent and action as the events progress. Gloucester and Lear are both deceived by wicked children turned against their better offspring; all ends in tragedy for most of the lot.
Lear addresses sibling rivalries, parent/child relationships, poverty and insanity, and any number of other readily accessible issues, but all interwoven so tightly that they cannot be unravelled easily, yet all the while the world for the characters are unravelling thread by thread before our very eyes. Lear points out the folly of human planning and agency. Lear was banned from performance, actually, during 1788-1820 when George III was considered insane, and the connexion between stage and royalty would be too blurred for official comfort.
Howl, howl, howl, howl! O! you are men of stones!
--Macbeth--
The witches, the blood-stained hands, the play whose name must not be mentioned in a theatre lest bad luck befall the actor or production. Macbeth is all of these, and more. Loosely based upon a real historical character, the tragedy here is one of ambition.
Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air
Did Macbeth really see the ghost of Banquo at the banquet, or was it indigestion because of the haggis? Macbeth can be played with or without a conscience, which makes for differing character development, but both options are available in Shakespeare's flexible playwriting.
Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell
That summons thee to heaven or to hell
Macbeth is driven by his ambition, but also by the ambition of his wife, Lady Macbeth, as treacherous a villain in many respects as any male character in Shakespeare. Macbeth has an overgrown sense of invincibility, convinced by prophecies that his course will be successful, and ordinarily it is (until it all goes awry); it is a successful struggle to the throne, but never secure, and in the end, all is lost.
Macbeth may be the bloodiest of Shakespeare's plays, a thrill for Elizabethan audiences, and a wonder to behold as the scenes get ever more desperate and darker.
This edition
There are so many editions of Shakespeare available, and many have merits. This particular volume of the thirteen major tragic plays provides notes and readable text, but not much by way of commentary; it lets the plays stand on their own merit. Not short by any means (over 1200 pages), this will nonetheless give a good edition of the tragedies for any library.
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