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Thread: Shakespeare

  1. #1
    Registered User Rores28's Avatar
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    Shakespeare

    I've just finished Hamlet and was looking for some other Shakespeare rec's. I know they are all good, but what are some of your favorites.

    Also does anyone know of well annotated editions, or interpretations etc...
    I just used Simply Shakespeare for this one which has a line by line tranlastion to the modern text, but now I'd like some more in depth analysis of themes and the various puns and word play etc...

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    I think you have already read the greatest of Shakespeare with Hamlet, none of his other works come near to the brilliance of Hamlet, the only one which I find comes a bit close is Julius Caesar.

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    Or Macbeth. And Midsummer Night's Dream is a good comedy.

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    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander III View Post
    I think you have already read the greatest of Shakespeare with Hamlet, none of his other works come near to the brilliance of Hamlet, the only one which I find comes a bit close is Julius Caesar.
    I don't know about Julius Caesar so much approaching Hamlet. The critical opinion tends to place King Lear as a close second to Hamlet.

    My favourite is The Tempest, though I love Hamlet, I find myself often quoting it, like the nerd I am. "O How beauteous mankind is! O Brave New World! That has such people in it."

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    Captain Azure Patrick_Bateman's Avatar
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    I've read Merchant of Venice and Romeo and Juliet


    School ruined Renaissance literature for me.
    I had such a slog getting through it at school that I shy away from it now.
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    " there are more things in heaven and earth, horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy"

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    Cool Macbeth, Othello, King Lear, Henry V ....

    As for reading Shakespeare, I don't like Shakespeare modernized. To really get into Shakespeare, read from the first folio text with corrected spelling.

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    aspiring Arthurianist Wilde woman's Avatar
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    I'm more a fan of his comedies than tragedies. My favorites are As You Like It and Twelfth Night, both of which have a lot of gender-bending characters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rores28 View Post
    Also does anyone know of well annotated editions, or interpretations etc...
    If you're serious about Shakespeare, you'll need to get the Riverside Shakespeare, which includes all his plays and very nice introductions and notes. It's indispensable for Shakespeare scholars.
    Ecce quam bonum et jocundum, habitares libros in unum!
    ~Robert Greene, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay

  9. #9
    Registered User Rores28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilde woman View Post
    I'm more a fan of his comedies than tragedies. My favorites are As You Like It and Twelfth Night, both of which have a lot of gender-bending characters.



    If you're serious about Shakespeare, you'll need to get the Riverside Shakespeare, which includes all his plays and very nice introductions and notes. It's indispensable for Shakespeare scholars.
    Cool thanks... its really expensive. Are the notes and reviews in this fairly substantial?

  10. #10
    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rores28 View Post
    I've just finished Hamlet and was looking for some other Shakespeare rec's. I know they are all good...
    It's a misconception to think that they're all good- in fact, some may have only partly been written by Shakey.

    I recommend Julius Caesar if you liked Hamlet- there's even a Caesar reference in the latter. Caesar was written only about a year before Hamlet.

    Other tragedies: King Lear is commonly thought to be up there with Hamlet. The four biggies are those two, Macbeth and Othello.

    Comedies: A Midsummer Night's Dream is probably the best, although Much Ado About Nothing and Taming of The Shrew also have their moments. The Merchant of Venice is classified as a comedy, though no one really thinks of it as one- it's a very good play.

    Histories: I am not that clued up on these but Richard III is definitely worth a shot (it's Shakespeare's second longest play). Richard II isn't too bad either.

    Problem plays: These are sometimes called the 'dark comedies'- three plays that do not comfortably fit into history, comedy, or tragedy. Measure for Measure is the best, dealing with justice, religion, hypocrisy and sexual repression. Haven't read Troilus and Cressida but All's Well That Ends Well is not one of Shakespeare's best. Although reading Shakespeare's comedies, you'll find that a few of them could be classified as a problem play. Hamlet was once classified as one, bizarrely.

    Romances: These are the comedies that Shakespeare wrote near the end of his career. Romances are often pastoral and they contain a miraculous event- more mellow comedies than his other stuff. The Tempest is the most famous and Shakespeare's second shortest, so you might as well read that. The Winter's Tale is also a good read- the first half is a tragedy; the second half is a comedy.

  11. #11
    aspiring Arthurianist Wilde woman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rores28 View Post
    Cool thanks... its really expensive. Are the notes and reviews in this fairly substantial?
    In a word, YES!! Like I said, it's a staple on the bookshelves of all Renaissance scholars. And yes, it's expensive, but you are getting the complete Shakespeare works with critical introductions, annotations, critical essays, extensive bibliographies, appendices, and even illustrations - over 2000 pages worth of the Bard!

    Having said that, it may be a bit much if you're not formally studying Shakespeare.
    Ecce quam bonum et jocundum, habitares libros in unum!
    ~Robert Greene, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilde woman View Post
    Having said that, it may be a bit much if you're not formally studying Shakespeare.
    I agree, and would add that (if you're like me) it may be a bit much even if you are formally studying Shakespeare. I have both the Riverside and Yale Shakespeare collections, and neither has seen that much action.

    In or out of school, the huge anthology just isn't portable or light enough for the way I like to read. Not to mention the cost. Each anthology I've seen does have a lot of great supplemental material, and I do see the value, but I don't think you need it to be serious about Shakespeare, and certainly not to enjoy the individual plays.

    I highly recommend the Folger paperback editions of the individual plays. They're only $5.99, and they have great background info on each play, detailed explanatory notes, and each has a modern essay analyzing one or more themes of the play.

    http://www.folger.edu/store

    That's not cost effective if you want to read all 38, but a great value if you'd just like to start with a few great plays.

    Speaking of, I personally would place The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, and Love's Labor's Lost among my favorites.

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    The Body in the Library Thespian1975's Avatar
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    I have found "The Arden Shakespeare" series to be the best. You can get individual plays of one volume. The individual plays give lots of background and exhaustive notes to the text and historical backgrounds.

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    Registered User prendrelemick's Avatar
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    I'd agree with most of the above. Hamlet is probably his best work. The Language in Julius Caesar represents the best that English has ever been. King Lear is an unexcelled examination of Humanity. Othello is for me the difinitive tragedy.

    But if you read for enjoyment, try Troilus and Cressida.

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