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on 25 January 2016
First of all I have to mention that I usually use the Oxford School Shakespeare versions but this title did not seem to be available. It was not as easy to read, and there were very few explanatory notes on each page. Also lacking were the details about the characters, plot, and background to the play. The print was not always easy to read cold, as the numbers of the explanatory notes seemed to merge with the actual text, and I really had to concentrate on reading it carefully. Although the copy was a mere " one penny, used" I would not have recommended it to students wishing to use it as either coursework or an exam text.
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on 5 April 2018
My poor review is not for the story or words of Shakespeare, but this edition. I purchased it as I thought the page layout would leave enough room for making extensive notes around each scene, which is true, however, the stage directions are in the wrong place!

For example - Act 1, Scene 1 - "SAMPSON. (aside to GREGORY). Is the law of our side if I say “ay”?" - in this edition it does not say (aside to GREGORY) - which is vital!

Even worse - Act 1, Scene 5 - the 14 line Sonnet uttered between Romeo and Juliet from lines "If I profane with my unworthiest hand... to Then move not while my prayer's effect I take" - should have the stage direction (They kiss) at the end. HOWEVER, in this version, the stage direction comes after the next line, "Thus from my lips, by thine my sin is purg'd" - which (1) changes the whole meaning of that last line and (2) makes the whole speech between them not a sonnet, but 15 lines.

I know this is incredibly pedantic, but as an English teacher trying to teach the play all stage directions must be in the correct place in a printed version, or it really does change and confuse the meaning.
If you are buying the play to study for your GCSE or A Level or Degree, don't choose this version as the meaning will not be correct for every line.
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VINE VOICEon 21 August 2008
We might expect an academic who has made her name as a feminist critic to find something interesting to say about 'As You Like It'. Juliet Dusinberre doesn't disappoint. Although its aspects of performance history can be a little wearisome, her Introduction is richly rewarding. Not surprisingly, she makes much of the play's cross-dressing and role-playing (boy playing woman playing man etc.). She finds questions of gender much more ambiguous and complex than they first appear and presents an account of a play in which liberating modes of behaviour can be adopted as easily as costumes can be donned. It is a play which 'redefines gender'.

Equally subversive, she thinks, are the play's allusions to Robin Hood. Duke Senior's comradely courtiers are partners rather than subjects, and his court more communal than hierarchic. Together with the animal welfare concerns expressed in the play, the Duke's vegetarian tendencies (which echo the real-life courtier John Harington's) and Orlando's 'challenge to primogeniture' (it is he, after all, who inherits a dukedom), the 'alternative', revolutionary elements of AYL are neatly drawn attention to.

There are some inspired insights. Touchstone's 'dreadful joke', as Dusinberre calls it (about pancakes in 1.2), makes sense if the court performance at Richmond Palace took place on the Shrove Tuesday of 1599, as she thinks highly likely. She further suggests that some of the play's exotic features (like the lion in 3.2.) were matched by the elaborate wood carvings in Richmond's outer court, while Rosalind's reference to Troilus not dying for love might have been accompanied by a gesture to the tapestry depicting Troy hanging in Richmond's Great Hall where plays were performed. In essence, therefore, she sees the palace as the 'perfect ambience' for the play, with its sense of rural retreat and with deer roaming outside its west wall.

But Dusinberre is careful to present the Forest of Arden as more than just a fairy-tale rural retreat. It is a place that represents the challenge of the unfamiliar and of harsh political exile. It is also a place which reflects the real, contemporary world of displacement brought about by land enclosure and political instability (in the year of Essex's fateful Irish campaign).

The Introduction is also radical and illuminating in its discussion of Elizabethan play reading. Dusinberre argues that AYL is particularly rewarding as a text to be read at leisure and that its wordplay is often better appreciated on the page than on the stage. She argues that puns such as Touchstone's 'faining/feigning' 'could only be appreciated by readers'. Dusinberre examines a recent school of thought (led by Lukas Erne) inclining to the view that not only did the printed word add an extra witty dimension, but that Shakespeare actively took readers into account when writing plays.

The comprehensively researched Commentary is equally impressive. It bears testimony to the rich heritage of Shakespearean scholarship which has unearthed a staggering amount of detail about the halcyon period of English drama, 1590-1610. This edition will probably allow for as full an appreciation of the play as is currently possible.
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on 14 September 2016
It is really good for A level students as it has little notes on the side to help you understand difficult words and every Act has a little summary so you can understand the scenery. It includes pictures as well to help visual learners so you can remember content by the picture. It has great ideas at the front ofthe book about the history of Othello etc. This is the perfect book for any student of Literature. Although there was ONE word mistake it was insignificant.
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on 13 October 2015
An essential part of the Open University's 2nd year "A230 Reading and Studying Literature" course, from the Renaissance section. A tragic tale of love, jealousy, betrayal and deceit. This Oxford version contains a huge amount of information, clarifying and analysing this classic play. 11/10.
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on 9 April 2013
My daughters class were "doing" Much Ado about Nothing in English, though they only watched the film.

This annoyed her, so she wanted to read the play, and @I felt a copy with some explanation would be better for her. This was perfect for the job, she could read through and get a "translation" of the more difficult sections.

However, I would have thought that it would be a little brief for GCSE. It was fine for the "I just want to read it", but for more in depth study the notes seem very brief.

I also cannot see this book surviving for any length of time in a schoolbag, the covers are very thin and I would worry that the book would get torn within days.

So, if you want to read the play with some explanation, this is perfect. For a study aid, I would go for one of the more detailed books available.
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on 24 October 2013
Having read other Shakespearean works published by Oxford Worlds Classics I knew this would a superbly informative work.
There is no point in this review going into the work of Shakespeare and this tragedy, Othello. I will use this review to write about the all the parts that make up this particular book.
There is a wonderful and informative 179 page introduction that consists of sections on the play's reception, sources, the play in performance and the interpretation of the play. There are six appendices which include headings such as, The Texts of the Play, The Music in the Play and Longer Notes.
But what I believe sets this book apart is the excellent, comprehensive and well researched footnotes.
I am using this book in conjunction with my English Literature degree and would highly recommended it to others.
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on 16 October 2015
Great concept, great book. Doesn't take long to read, and very helpful in illucidating some of the denser passages. It won't be for everyone - purists will hate some of the neologisms in the modern version, and it misses some of the subtlety and most of the beauty of the original - but I got plenty from it. It is in no way a replacement for reading the original, but it's a great substitute if you don't happen to have a professor of literature on hand to answer your questions.
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on 14 February 2015
Excellent edition - introduction is very readable and not tediously academic. Good layout and easy to navigate - page notes on the text are minimal, numbered along the edge and placed as footnotes. Plenty of additional information at the end of the book - performance styles and history, RSC history and more. There are even some photos of historic productions. This book should be useful to both students and general readers and has a contemporary feel to it.
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on 15 June 2015
The Arden editions of Shakespeare are definitely my favourites - they're beautifully produced and the introductions and notes are invaluable. Sometimes there is not a great deal of text on a page which can make them a little unwieldy if rehearsing with them, but I still find the Arden preferable to any other edition. This is also a companion volume to the First Quarto and First Folio edition which I believe is now out of print. I have both volumes and together they give you a definitive view of Shakespeare's play, in all its incarnations.
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