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[Œuvres complètes] (1623)

par William Shakespeare

Autres auteurs: Voir la section autres auteur(e)s.

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27,06614981 (4.59)408
This single-volume edition of the complete works of William Shakespeare includes commissioned introductions to each of the plays and poems by a team of academics, including John Jowett and Philip Hobsbaum, with a textual introduction by the Shakespearean scholar Alec Yearling explaining the significance of the Alexander edition. This volume also includes a biography of Shakespeare by Germaine Greer and an introduction to Shakespeare's theatre by Anthony Burgess.… (plus d'informations)
  1. 91
    Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare par Isaac Asimov (shurikt)
    shurikt: What would a SF writer know about Shakespeare? A lot, apparently. This is a great book to refresh your memory before the occasional Shakespeare in the Park -- if you don't want to read the play again.
  2. 30
    The Oxford Anthology of English Literature: The Literature of Renaissance England par John Hollander (MissBrangwen)
  3. 42
    Shakespeare and Co.: Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher and the Other Players in His Story par Stanley Wells (akfarrar)
    akfarrar: Editor and Shakespeare Scholar - Wells
  4. 12
    Haunt Me Still par Jennifer Lee Carrell (kraaivrouw)
  5. 710
    Hamlet par William Shakespeare (Pattty)
    Pattty: Si te gustó Hamlet seguro te gustará Macbeth, que es una historia buena y mucho más "macabra"
  6. 58
    A Dictionary of the English Language: An Anthology (Penguin Classics) par Samuel Johnson (Voracious_Reader)
    Voracious_Reader: He refers to all sorts of authors, but most frequently Shakespeare.

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» Voir aussi les 408 mentions

Anglais (145)  Néerlandais (2)  Allemand (1)  Espagnol (1)  Toutes les langues (149)
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  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
Opera omnia in lingua originale inglese, ristampa da una edizione del 1958 ( )
  Drusetta | Jan 1, 2021 |
not my all-time favourite complete works, but only because the whole point of the Arden individual series is their copious scholarly notes; with those largely removed, the complete works seems redundant when you can revel in the more condensed RSC or Riverside editions. ( )
  therebelprince | Nov 15, 2020 |
What an exquisite edition of one of the greatest works in the Western canon. Armed with an authoritative editorial team, Professor Jonathan Bate has reworked all of Shakespeare's plays, as well as his poems. The footnotes are extensive and cover all meanings of words (including the more salacious ones that many school texts leave out), while also providing informative historical and contextual information.

This edition seeks to give us every word attributed to Shakespeare (although, as it points out at length, we can't really know what he wrote: all of our current versions come from a variety of sources typeset in his later years, and primarily from the First Folio printed after his death. Any work of the Bard's is distorted in some way). With appendices and footnotes, notable textual errors or areas of debate are highlighted.

There is so much to love here. Epic tragedies - Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, King Lear - joined by their lesser, but poetically affecting counterparts like Othello, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Titus Andronicus. Shakespeare plays with and shuffles around comic tropes in his wide variety of comedies: peaks include The Comedy of Errors, Love's Labour's Lost, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Much Ado About Nothing.

In his more subdued romances, Shakespeare often seems reduced to more typical characters yet imbues than with layer upon layer of subtlety: Measure for Measure and The Winter's Tale are particularly splendid examples. Some of the tragedies and comedies aren't as startling, and some are challenging - such as his part-satire Troilus and Cressida - but every work brims with characters whose opinions, beliefs and motives are individual, and not simply echoing those of an author. Beyond these plays lies a staggering cycle of love poems in The Sonnets, as well as his other various poetry which always makes fascinating, lyrical reading.

Capping all this is Shakespeare's incredible cycle of English history, which details the country's fate from 1199 to 1533, through the stories of the English monarchs: their battles, their loves, their lives and the effect their squabbles have over countless citizens. The cycle begins with the somewhat talky King John (far from my favourite work, but well presented in the BBC Complete Works cycle) and ends with the autumnal King Henry VIII. In between are eight plays (two tetraologies) which encompass the Wars of the Roses, and they are astonishing. From the private thoughts of the monarch to the most unimportant peasant, Shakespeare captures an age.

The introductions on each play detail cultural successes over the centuries, as well as basic historical information. I've seen people suggest other aspects that could improve this - such as a suggestion of ways to double parts (this is defined as the "actor's edition"). Certainly, I can accept that, but as it stands this is already beyond a 5-star piece of work. A place of honour on my shelf, that's for sure. ( )
  therebelprince | Nov 15, 2020 |
Edward III

For anyone saying, "Huh?" right now, let me say that EIII is one of the "Apocryphal Plays" that have been credited wholly or in part to Shakespeare at one time or another but that do not have conclusive proof of authorship by Big Bill Rattlepike. In the Second Edition of the Oxford Shakespeare Complete Works, the whole text of all plays the editors are convinced Shakespeare had a hand in is printed. This means that they have made the brave decision to include Edward III, convinced as they are that Shakepeare wrote up to four scenes in the play. The text has undergone every stylistic and vocubulary test known to scholarship and there is a growing consensus that Shakespeare wrote some, at least, of this play. Now, I don't know anything about these tests, but if you'd asked me which scenes stood out as the best, I'd have picked the four that the present editors claim were by Big Bill the Bard.

The play is a straightforward history, showing Edward the III first having trouble with the Scots then invading France, where his son gets caught, massively outnumbered, in a valley surrounded by hills...Cue ridiculous triumph-against-the-odds...

Between the two are some scenes where the King meets an exceptionally attractive member of the Nobility and woos her, despite being already married himself. These scenes raise the bar in terms of the language used and feeling expressed and are reminiscent of numerous similar scenes by Shakespeare - I could easily believe he wrote them. Later, the Prince of Wales, pensive before apparently insurmountable odds of battle, finds courage whilst meditating on the inevitability of death. Once again these passages are reminiscent of other famous Shakespeare scenes.

The plot is reminiscent of Henry V and I can easily imagine that Shakespeare took this play and used it as the model for that later, greater and entirely solo effort.

What Edward III lacks are depth of characterisation, depth of feeling conveyed by the language (outside the four scenes mentioned above) and a unity in the whole. The early part with Edward's attempted adultery seems disconnected from the subsequent invasion of France.

Even taken alone, Henry V eliminates all these problems.

This play illustrates to me the genius of Shakespeare: he was able to take a populist form that demanded a continuous supply of fresh material that allowed little time for rehearsal and create work that showed such psychological and dramatic insight in such glorious language that it transcended his era to the extent of him being widely considered the best Britsh playwright ever to have lived, 400 years later.

The Merchant of Venice

Well that was - short! Also, fun. It's a mess of a play in some respects - the plotting and structure are a muddle. The dramatic crisis occurs in act 4, leaving the entire last act over to the kind of banter and romantical silliness typified by As You Like It's forest scenes, which could feel anti-climactic if not played up to the hilt in performance, because when it come down to it,this play is dominated by Shylock. So much so that it ended up also popularly known by the alternative title The Jew of Venice and, in an era when actors dominated performance decisions, frequently curtailed at the end of act 4 when Shylock's part is over and the dramatic crisis is resolved.

This seems typical of the comedies, where much of the plot is an excuse to get a bunch of people into romantic shenanigans and the women into disguise as men, with little of the concern for pace or structure that we tend to demand of an genre of film these days. It's not that he couldn't do it - Richard III and Hamlet, even if bloated in places, certainly show how to organise things and Henry V doesn't even have much excess verbiage. MacBeth (aided no doubt by Middleton's many interventions) is superbly constructed and never slow - hence I conclude that Shakespeare was all about the laughs in his early comedies and never mind the preposterousness or the plots that go away for three acts.

There is no escaping the fact that Shylock dominates this play; his character is the only one developed to any real depth and the fact that the debate rages to this day as to whether Shakespeare and his contemporary audiences would have seen him as sympathetic or merely a pantomime villain testifies to this. Because a case can be made either way, villain or victim it seems plain to me that what we have is a sympathetic antagonist - not a monster everybody loves to hate but a human whose flaws in the end bring his own downfall in the very definition of Shakespearean Tragedy. He's abused and railed against for doing what Christians won't whilst at the same time being patronised by the very same people because he is fulfilling an essential function in a market economy and earning a living from it. When the opportunity arises he must have revenge, not the moral high ground of magnanimity and mercy - there-in lies the seed of his destruction.

It's hard not to compare this with Jonson, given that they were contemporaries and I recently finished a five play volume by one of the men said to have drunk Shakespeare into the fever that killed him. The contrasts are in fact stronger - Jonson being more prosaic, less witty in banter and more prone to showing off his learning, especially by quoting Latin and more concerned with "ordinary" folk than the rich and powerful. Shakespeare here also shows his mastery of character (if only in the form of Shylock) whilst the best of Jonson is much more in the way of caricature.

The Merry Wives of Windsor

This play doesn't seem to have enjoyed much popularity in my (adult) lifetime - I can't remember hearing about, let alone actually seeing, any film or stage production of it - and I can't understand why. It's ripe with opportunities for visual humour, has everybody's favourite character from Henry IV, much wit and punning, a more coherent plot than many another Shakespeare comedy and even offers wide scope to set and costume designers. I'd love to see this, filmed, or, even better, live on stage.

For those not in the know, the play revolves around an episode from John Falstaff's life prior to his association with Prince Hal, in which he attempts to cuckold his neighbours. There is a subplot regarding who will marry one Anne Page, from three suitors, leading to a typically Shakespearean ending with (implied) happy marriage.

In one sense this is a-typical Shakespeare - despite ostensibly being historical - set in the reign of Henry IV - it could, if you changed the characters' names, not be identified as anything other than contemporary with the author. It also deals not with the high-born and rich but with professionals and labourers - and rogues and thieves - making it very Jonsonian.

Julius Caesar

My first exposure to Shakespeare was this play, read in English class, when I was 13. Apparently it is a very popular choice in schools because it has no "bawdy." This wasn't any concern of my teacher, though, as he had us reading MacBeth later the same year.

Julius Caesar didn't go down very well; it was terribly confusing. Caesar dies half way through having done and said very little. What was that all about? The only bit that I remember liking was Antony's great rhetorical swaying of the plebians. The way he achieved that was fascinating.

My second encounter with the play was an outdoor performance in the courtyard of Conwy Castle, my main memory of which was having a sore bum because of inadequate cushioning from the courtyard floor (sat as I was on a couple of camping mats placed directly on the flagstones). So not much joy there either. And the whole structure was still confusing - it isn't about Julius! This fact was never explained by my teacher. But there is an explanation: the play is based on Classical dramatic models where-in this type of thing happens quite often. The central figure of the title is an enigma around which the real action revolves - the motive force for chaos and tragedy more by other people's responses to him than by his direct actions. And that's what we have here. Shakespeare writing a play after the fashion of the Latin dramatists he was familiar with from school, who in turn were following the fashion and subject matter of the Greek plays of antiquity.

Now, having learned this and also having come into contact with some of that ancient drama, I re-read Julius Caesar and find that it does in fact make sense, structurally if looked at this way. There is no central character except Caesar, despite him being conspicuous by his absence. There have been attempts to re-cast (and re-name) it as the Tragedy of Brutus but these are distortions or adaptations. The fact is that Cassius, Antony and Brutus are all compared and contrasted with each other and with Caesar and this is a necessary thing for understanding the character of each. Cassius's worldly motivations and ready perception of character are the opposite of Brutus's lofty ideals and inability to recognise that he is being used. Antony is motivated as much by will to power as by revenge; Cassius is aware of this. Brutus is a fool politically but is the superior general it turns out; they ould have won if Cassius had been more careful on the battlefield and Caesar - he's a greater figure than all of them put together, though he's just a man, with human frailties as Cassius points out, remembering how he saved Caesar from drowning in the Tiber. Greater - but for reasons not clear, not ever expressed - and the eye of the storm.

It's a fascinating mess and everybody ends up dead except Antony who walks off with the power and all the best lines in the play, back in that crucial "Friends, Romans, countrymen..." scene that forms the bulk of Act 3. The bit I liked even when I didn't have a clue about the rest - still the best part, even with the rest suddenly making sense.

Troilus and Cressida

The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare mentions that early 19th Century critics were "baffled" by this play. I have some sympathy with them; I don't really know what Bill was trying to do with this one. No contemporary writer worth the name would plot the final two acts this way, for a start. Now plotting was never Bill's strongest suit but we aren't talking about one of his daft comedies where you can ignore plot development in exchange for extreme verbal and physical comedy down in the woods tonight and go home chuckling at what you've seen and heard and not really caring about the absurdity of it all. Nor is this Romeo and Juliet 2.0, despite the set up in the first three acts where we start with a lot of wit and word play and silliness but get progressively more serious as time goes on, ending up with a full-on Tragic denouement and a bold statement about the destructive nature of feuding and partisan violence within respectable society that is alarmingly relevant 400 years later. Here, if there is a Tragic figure at all it is Hector, sadly too naively trusting in others' honour because his own is impeccable, rather than Troilus or Cressida, let alone both. And the play, despite having two endings, never really resolves the issue of the Troilus-Cressida-Diomedes love triangle at all. It's a mess.

Apparently more recent criticism has focused on Shakespeare's treatment of sexuality in the play but I don't really find the idea that people can be fickle and inconstant and driven by other people's looks all that profound or interesting, though I find it believable that Bill might have been aiming at a discussion of it.

So what I'm left with is a play that starts humourous then becomes amusingly chaotic and diverting in the final act (alarums and excursions abound) but stops rather than really concludes and suffers horribly in comparison with the Iliad's treatment of all the characters they have in common - a comparison that, at least while reading off the page, is unavoidable to anyone who has previously encountered Achilles' rage as described by Homer.

And on we go to Sir Thomas More, a play for which Shakespeare wrote probably only one or two scenes.

The Book of Sir Thomas More

The editors believe Shakespeare wrote a three page passage in the extant "book" of this play, which was originally composed by Munday. Those pages were included in the 1st Ed. of this volume but, as with Edward III, here in the 2nd Ed. they print the full text of the play. The parts attributed to Shakespeare are higher quality than the rest but some of the material by Munday is almost as good. However, for me the real interests of this play, which overall is disjointed, unbalanced and a second rate work of the period, are twofold and not really related to Shakespeare directly, namely, the portrayal of More and the insight into the politics, censorship and mode of operation of playwrights of the period.

What we have is a playbook originally written by Munday dealing with the rise and fall of Thomas More, which was heavily criticised by the Master of the Revels who read all plays before performance and had the power to demand any alterations he deemed fit or suppress the play entirely. More was a controvercial figure in Elizabethan politics still, being considered a Catholic martyr by many and a champion of the working people to boot. Catholicism vs. Protestantism was inextricably mixed up with the right to the throne and international power politics. Nevertheless, the Master of the Revels didn't ban the play out-right but instead gave copious instructions for deletions and modifications that were written directly on the play-book.

Subsequently various authors, including Chettle, Heywood and Dekker as well as Shakespeare, revised the play, replacing passages and altering existing ones - it's a professional critic's wet dream. The demand for original material for the stage was difficult to keep up with and collaborations between playwrights were commonplace, as were revisions of extant plays. (Middleton appears to have revised two of Shakespeare's plays, for example.) Here we get a good look at an extreme example of attempting to rescue a play because writing a new one from scratch was too long a process, as well as an insight into the role and attitudes of the Master of the Revels, which clearly was considered politically important and taken seriously. Despite all of the effort by nearly everyone, it seems the play was never performed on the contemporary stage.

Which brings me to the character of More himself. Here he comes over as a trickster and humourist who uses pranks to teach more pompous folks and genuine fools various lessons but also a champion of mercy and restraint in keeping the peace between the lower classes and the aristocracy. He goes in humble and brave fashion to his martyrdom, refusing to break with his Catholic principles regarding Henry VIII's divorce.

In [b:A Man for All Seasons|403098|A Man for All Seasons|Robert Bolt||1358325] More is presented as a much more serious but still saintly martyr who dies for his principles. A biography of William Tyndale that I once read, gives a different picture, by illustrating what some of those principles were: More had a network of agents who spied and informed on anybody connected with translating the Bible from Latin to English or printing or distributing such. Anybody found guilty of said "crimes" were burned alive at the stake - no mercy whatsoever.

All of these authors had a partisan agenda regarding More: Catholic martyr, champion of the unprivileged, murderer of anybody who opposed the Church's control of Christian thought. Could he have been all of these things?

Measure for Measure

The editors believe that this play was adapted somewhat by another writer and additionally that it was Thomas Middleton. The same view is widely held regarding MacBeth, which to my mind loses it's unity of view and expression in the scenes of the witches spell casting and giving cauldrons a bad reputation forever after. Here, though, any adaptation is more subtle and doesn't impair the play at all.

This is also the earliest of what are known as the "problem plays" so called, as far as I can tell, because they do not fit neatly into any of the three conventional genres of the time, namely, comedy, tragedy or history. Earliest problem play does not mean early play, however - we are in the second half of Shakespeare's career by now. This leads me to propose a simple solution to the "problem": By this time Shakespeare was successful and confident enough to dispense with convention and write whatever kind of play he wanted and it seems to me that this is a morality play.

This play attacks everything that was appalling about the status of and attitudes towards women of the period, making it a stark contrast with The Taming of the Shrew. The law that the plot hinges upon is an ass, along with the prevailing obsession with virginity prior to marriage and as some kind of morally pure state that gets you extra bonus points from the Heavenly authorities. The convention of dowries and concomitant "wife as chattel" is also attacked.

There are no really memorable speeches but the play gets its points across successfully and doesn't outstay its welcome.

Henry V
Yeah, yeah, I'm supposed to be reading King Lear, but the BBC broadcast Brannagh's Henry V film and I thought I'd catch it on iPlayer before it disappears. Go here for the review because there isn't room left here for it all:

King Lear (Quarto)

The Tragedy of Richard III

Timon of Athens


All's Well that Ends Well


Fierce warrior, great general, total prat.

The Winter's Tale


The Two Noble Kinsmen ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
Affichage de 1-5 de 149 (suivant | tout afficher)
There are moments when one asks despairingly why our stage should ever have been cursed with this "immortal" pilferer of other men's stories and ideas, with his monstrous rhetorical fustian, his unbearable platitudes, his pretentious reduction of the subtlest problems of life to commonplaces against which a Polytechnic debating club would revolt, his incredible unsuggestiveness, his sententious combination of ready reflection with complete intellectual sterility, and his consequent incapacity for getting out of the depth of even the most ignorant audience, except when he solemnly says something so transcendently platitudinous that his more humble-minded hearers cannot bring themselves to believe that so great a man really meant to talk like their grandmothers.

With the single exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely as I despise Shakespear when I measure my mind against his. The intensity of my impatience with him occasionally reaches such a pitch, that it would positively be a relief to me to dig him up and throw stones at him, knowing as I do how incapable he and his worshippers are of understanding any less obvious form of indignity. To read Cymbeline and to think of Goethe, of Wagner, of Ibsen, is, for me, to imperil the habit of studied moderation of statement which years of public responsibility as a journalist have made almost second nature in me.
ajouté par SnootyBaronet | modifierThe Saturday Review, George Bernard Shaw (Sep 26, 1896)

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William Shakespeare's date of birth is not precisely known, but it probably preceded his baptism on April 26, 1564, in Stratfordon-Avon, by only a few days.
There is no proof that Shakespeare personally superintended the printing of any of his plays.
Publisher's Preface: In the words of the First Folio of 1623, "The Riverside Shakespeare" is addressed 'To the great Variety of Readers.  From the most able, to him that can but spell.'" - Harold T. Miller, President Houghton Mifflin Company
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Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.
- (The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2, Line 213)
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This work contains all works written by Shakespeare – this is not the Complete Plays only. Shakespeare wrote sonnets and poems in addition to the plays.
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This single-volume edition of the complete works of William Shakespeare includes commissioned introductions to each of the plays and poems by a team of academics, including John Jowett and Philip Hobsbaum, with a textual introduction by the Shakespearean scholar Alec Yearling explaining the significance of the Alexander edition. This volume also includes a biography of Shakespeare by Germaine Greer and an introduction to Shakespeare's theatre by Anthony Burgess.

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