Which complete works should i get and why?

Which complete works should i get and why?
I have the norton complete works third edition, but the notes dont give a good impression of the editor.

  1. 3 months ago

    >not buying every single play as a separate book from different translators

    • 3 months ago


    • 3 months ago

      I am part of the small corps of ESL shakespeare enjoyers who read him in the original language. Hence, knave.

      • 3 months ago

        Good on you, anon! Do you struggle with it? Even to natives Shakespeare's famously tricky.

        • 3 months ago

          Not a struggle at all once you realise theyre supposed to be talking with normal intonation. I listened to that great full cast Hamlet audio recording with Gieldgud from the 40s, it blew my mind and made me realise what shakespeare is. It's just kino emotionally driven drama. Agree with Nabokov that it works better as literature than acted. The theatre of the mind will have to dramatise it and it's enjoyable as fuck.
          As for the language, its modern english with about 15% non-modern terminology. It's not difficult at all if you just try to understand. You'll see how simple it really is.

          Example 1
          1 Henry VI
          Gloucester tries to put Henry Vs legacy into words at the late kings funeral.

          England ne'er had a king until his time.
          Virtue he had, deserving to command:
          His brandish'd sword did blind men with his beams:
          His arms spread wider than a dragon's wings;
          His sparking eyes, replete with wrathful fire,
          More dazzled and drove back his enemies
          Than mid-day sun fierce bent against their faces.
          What should I say? his deeds exceed all speech:
          He ne'er lift up his hand but conquered.

          If you understand this, you "get" shakespeare.

          More examples to follow for those interested in shakespeare but cant "break the mold" for whatever reason. Overall i'd say listen to Gielguds Hamlet, its on audible.

          • 3 months ago

            Example 2
            Prince Henry, called Harry Monmouth (who will later become king Henry V) is having fun with his friend Falstaff in a tavern. Falstaff is a fat old thief, Henry a young prince who at this point doesnt care about stately things and hangs out with highwaymen and drunks.
            They are putting on a show for their friends and other patrons, where Falstaff, sitting on a chair he pretends is a throne, plays Henry's disappointed father (the king of england), scolding his son for the company he keeps and Henry kneels in front of him.

            [...][ There is a virtuous man whom I
            have often noted in thy company, but I know not his name.

            PRINCE HENRY
            What manner of man, an it like your majesty?

            A goodly portly man, i' faith, and a corpulent; of a
            cheerful look, a pleasing eye and a most noble
            carriage; and, as I think, his age some fifty, or,
            by'r lady, inclining to three score; and now I
            remember me, his name is Falstaff: if that man
            should be lewdly given, he deceiveth me; for, Harry,
            I see virtue in his looks. If then the tree may be
            known by the fruit, as the fruit by the tree, then,
            peremptorily I speak it, there is virtue in that
            Falstaff: him keep with, the rest banish. And tell
            me now, thou naughty varlet, tell me, where hast thou been this month?

            • 3 months ago


              Henry tells Falstaff to trade places with him, so that Henry will play his angry father and Falstaff will play Henry. They change places, Falstaff kneels and Henry sits on the stool, pretending its a throne.

              PRINCE HENRY
              Thou art violently carried away from grace:
              there is a devil haunts thee in the likeness of an
              old fat man; a tun of man is thy companion. Why
              dost thou converse with that trunk of humours, that
              bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swollen parcel
              of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed
              cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with
              the pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that
              grey iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in
              years? Wherein is he good, but to taste sack and
              drink it? wherein neat and cleanly, but to carve a
              capon and eat it? wherein cunning, but in craft?
              wherein crafty, but in villany? wherein villanous,
              but in all things? wherein worthy, but in nothing?

              I would your grace would take me with you: whom
              means your grace?

              PRINCE HENRY
              That villanous abominable misleader of youth,
              Falstaff, that old white-bearded Satan.

              My lord, the man I know.

              PRINCE HENRY
              I know thou dost.

              But to say I know more harm in him than in myself,
              were to say more than I know. That he is old, the
              more the pity, his white hairs do witness it; but
              that he is, saving your reverence, a whoremaster,
              that I utterly deny. If sack and sugar be a fault,
              God help the wicked! if to be old and merry be a
              sin, then many an old host that I know is damned: if
              to be fat be to be hated, then Pharaoh's lean kine
              are to be loved. No, my good lord; banish Peto,
              banish Bardolph, banish Poins: but for sweet Jack
              Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff,
              valiant Jack Falstaff, and therefore more valiant,
              being, as he is, old Jack Falstaff, banish not him
              thy Harry's company, banish not him thy Harry's
              company: banish plump Jack, and banish all the world.

              PRINCE HENRY
              I do, I will.

              • 3 months ago

                Example 3

                Hamlet is lamenting his mother being a whore who married his uncle right after his father (the king of denmark) died.

                [...]But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two:
                So excellent a king; that was, to this,
                Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
                That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
                Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
                Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
                As if increase of appetite had grown
                By what it fed on: and yet, within a month--
                Let me not think on't--Frailty, thy name is woman!--
                A little month, or ere those shoes were old
                With which she follow'd my poor father's body,
                Like Niobe, all tears:--why she, even she--
                O, God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
                Would have mourn'd longer--married with my uncle,
                My father's brother, but no more like my father
                Than I to Hercules: within a month:
                Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
                Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
                She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
                With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
                It is not nor it cannot come to good:
                But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.

                Later while pretending to be mad even to the woman he's in love with, he takes out his anger against women yelling at ophelia, who does not understand what has happened to the man she was in love with.

                If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for
                thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as
                snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a
                nunnery, go: farewell. Or, if thou wilt needs
                marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough
                what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go,
                and quickly too. Farewell.

                O heavenly powers, restore him!

                I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; God
                has given you one face, and you make yourselves
                another: you jig, you amble, and you lisp, and
                nick-name God's creatures, and make your wantonness
                your ignorance. Go to, I'll no more on't; it hath
                made me mad. I say, we will have no more marriages:
                those that are married already, all but one, shall
                live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a
                nunnery, go.

                Hamlet Exits

                O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
                The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword;
                The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
                The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
                The observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
                And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
                That suck'd the honey of his music vows,
                Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
                Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
                That unmatch'd form and feature of blown youth
                Blasted with ecstasy: O, woe is me,
                To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!

              • 3 months ago

                etc. etc. I would love to keep giving examples, but people will just have to read and discover shakespeare themselves. All of humanity, all human feelings and points of view are presented in shakespeare. It's an endless well of fascination for me. The good plays, meaning most of them, touch on so many themes in the most beautiful english prose and verse ever written.
                My point about shakespeare not being hard is the fact that you have to understand the words being said and give them the correct intonation in your mind, which tone can be difficult to extract from just reading the text, but once you get used to it, reading shakespeare is a pleasure.

              • 3 months ago

                I'm just glad that you've got through a wall many ESLs struggle with.

                Personally my struggle with the man is just due to the poetry: IMO it's just (marvelous) soliloquies submerged in a dull a repetitive plot. I've read all he's wrote, the histories twice, the tragedies thrice or more, and still I've never 'got' him. Some people never do!

          • 3 months ago

            Thank you my little nig, I will give Shakespeare a go now

    • 3 months ago

      Riverside or Oxford, IMO.

      > Two column
      > Frank Kermode
      > Cheap copies everywhere
      > names abbreviated
      > notes

      > Two column
      > No Frank Kermode
      > Inexpensive but not as cheap
      > full names
      > really cool spine if you ditch the dust jacket
      > No notes

      > The solo plays are consistently the most compromised by fifteenth wave feminist critiques and why Shakespeare was an LGBTETC icon
      > I don't know about notes, I don't like Ardis

      Really, just get one and READ IT. Most of the big volumes in your pic will be fine. Shakespeare wasn't one dude anyway.

      If you're interested in any particular play, grab the individual copy of either Arden or Oxford later, but don't do that for every play. Some of them are fucking AWFUL. You live in the hyperinformation age and can Google notes, and you'll be better off for not getting every autistic quibble shoved down your throat as page clutter.


      Honestly, given the size of the intros and the density of notes, the prep work sometimes feels like translations on our end. I see how this flub happened.

      Riverside is good

      Ultimately, this is my vote. I wish the names were spelled out, but it really doesn't matter.

  2. 3 months ago

    >the notes dont give a good impression of the editor
    whats the issue? i was planning on buying that version partially because i enjoyed one of the editor's books, but if he did a bad job here i might not.

  3. 3 months ago

    >What edition has the strongest spine and is more resistant

    and at the same time

    >With notes that explain the meaning of old words


  4. 3 months ago

    The 40 volume Yale set

  5. 3 months ago

    Riverside is good

  6. 3 months ago

    Complete works suck, they're too big and heavy to read comfortably, real ball squashers, and they have to exclude notes, commentary, essays, introductions etc. that are great explanatory features found in single play books. Get a set where each play has its own specialist book, Arden is probably king here, or more realistically start with the important plays, and the ones you've seen or want to see.

    • 3 months ago

      Just want to chime in with a vote for the Folger Shakespeare collection. I dont know if other editions are like this, but the footnotes are on the opposite page to the text, so you just flip your eyes over for the translation, then back to reading the play. I'd always struggled before with footnotes at the bottom of the page. This is the first time I've actually enjoyed Shakespeare, and now I'm hooked.

      I calculate the whole series will take up 4 feet of shelf space once I've collected them all. And the cover colors are nice to look at.

  7. 3 months ago

    Why didn't you buy every single play as a separate book from different translators

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