William Shakespeare Complete Works
William Shakespeare Complete Works
Modern Library, Hardcover, 9780679642954, 2485pp.
Publication Date: April 3, 2007
FROM THE WORLD FAMOUS ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY, THE FIRST AUTHORITATIVE, MODERNIZED, AND CORRECTED EDITION OF SHAKESPEARE’S FIRST FOLIO IN THREE CENTURIES.
Skillfully assembled by Shakespeare’s fellow actors in 1623, the First Folio was the original Complete Works. It is arguably the most important literary work in the English language. But starting with Nicholas Rowe in 1709 and continuing to the present day, Shakespeare editors have mixed Folio and Quarto texts, gradually corrupting the original Complete Works with errors and conflated textual variations.
Now Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, two of today’s most accomplished Shakespearean scholars, have edited the First Folio as a complete book, resulting in a definitive Complete Works for the twenty-first century.
Combining innovative scholarship with brilliant commentary and textual analysis that emphasizes performance history and values, this landmark edition will be indispensable to students, theater professionals, and general readers alike.
For more information on this Modern Library edition, visit www.therscshakespeare.com
Like many of his contemporaries, including Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare began his career on the stage, eventually rising to become part-owner of Lord Chamberlain s Men, a popular dramatic company of his day, and of the storied Globe Theatre in London.
Extremely popular in his lifetime, Shakespeare s works continue to resonate more than three hundred years after his death. His plays are performed more often than any other playwright s, have been translated into every major language in the world, and are studied widely by scholars and students.
Jonathan Bate is a biographer, critic, and broadcaster. His many books include The Genius of Shakespeare, described by Sir Peter Hall as "the best modern book on Shakespeare"; a biography of the poet John Clare, which won Britain's two oldest literary awards, the Hawthornden Prize and the James Tait Black Prize; Soul of the Age, an intellectual life of Shakespeare, which was runner-up for the Biography Prize of PEN America; and The Song of the Earth, a pioneering book on poetry and the environment. He is also the author of a novel, The Cure for Love, and the hit one-man play for Simon Callow, Being Shakespeare. A fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature, he is provost of Worcester College and professor of English literature at Oxford University. Married to the author Paula Byrne, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to higher education and was knighted in 2015 for his services to literary scholarship.
ERIC RASMUSSEN is Professor of English at the University of Nevada. He is co-editor of the Norton Anthology of English Renaissance Drama and the author of The Shakespeare Thefts. He is the General Textual Editor of the Internet Shakespeare Editions project one of the most visited Shakespeare websites in the world. Since 1999 he has written the annual review of editions and textual studies for the Shakespeare Survey.
"The endurance of Shakespeare depends not only on the felt experience of good, vivid theater, but also on dynamic scholarship that reveals his living text."
–Michael Boyd, RSC artistic director
"Timely, original, and beautifully conceived, this is a remarkable edition, one that makes Shakespeare's extraordinary accomplishment more vivid than ever."
–James Shapiro, professor, Columbia University and bestselling author of A Year in the Life of Shakespeare: 1599
"The big book is a new one-volume edition of the complete works, commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and published by the Modern Library. Two eminent Shakespeareans, Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, have applied modern editing techniques and recent scholarship to correct and update the First Folio, the first collection of the plays, published in 1623…. Mr. Bate writes… a superb introduction that deals with Shakespeare and his world as well as textual questions."
–The New York Times
“The excellent general introduction by Jonathan Bate and the essays and notes on each play are… a feast of literary and historical information.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“I look forward to using it over many years… enjoying Jonathan Bate’s perceptive comments, trusting Eric Rasmussen’s textual scholarship.”
—Peter Holland, President of the Shakespeare Association of America, editor of Shakespeare Survey
“Bate’s edition is incomparably superior to all the rest. His knowledge of textual problems and previous commentary seems to be prodigious in its detail and thoroughness…. And his comments on individual plays are unfailingly perceptive. He’s about equally fine as scholar and critic; few excel in both roles, with their very different requirements. Bate is like an all-star shortstop who can also serve as an outstanding relief pitcher…. No other edition has ever impressed me so much.”
--Joseph Sobran, author of William Shakespeare, Alias Shakespeare: Solving the Greatest Literary Mystery of All Time
Jonathan Bate is a passionate advocate of Shakespeare and his introductions to individual plays are full of striking and convincing observations…. The scholarly apparatus is discreet, elegant and pertinent. For each play, we get a set of ‘key facts’: brief accounts of plots, dates and sources, and useful statistics…. Footnotes are found snugly and legibly at the bottom of each page….There is a universe to be found in these annotations: the Renaissance world of power and fate, sex and death, language and philosophy. Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen have given us an edition full of endless fascination.”
—London Times Education Supplement
"This is a glorious edition of one of the world's most important books. It's the essential reference book for anyone who's ever been in love, felt jealousy, fear, hatred, or desire. All human life is here-and every home should have one."
–Dame Judi Dench, RSC honorary associate artist
“Anyone who wants a good single volume edition of the plays…won’t do better than this.” —The International Herald Tribune
“A magnificent new volume.” —A. N. Wilson, Daily Telegraph (UK)
“A triumphant addition to our times.” —Fiona Shaw, The Times (London)
"Thanks to Bate and Rasmussen, we now have a rendering of The Complete Works that, in a rare publishing achievement, would also give complete satisfaction to the author himself."
–Robert McCrum, The Observer
"A new and thoroughly radical edition…. The editorial decisions are argued in an impeccably informative introduction by Jonathan Bate that gives a comprehensive theatrical, social, political and biographical context to the plays. There are pithy essays, also by Bate, to introduce each play as well as exemplary notes at the foot of each page... incomparably useful ... a definitive edition."
–Richard Eyre, Sunday Telegraph
“A splendid edition. The general introduction is among the best 50-page guides to Shakespeare you could hope to find, while the short essays prefixed to each play are like the best kind of programme notes - informative, thought-provoking and humane.... The RSC's edition tells you all you need to know about the life, but also, vitally, allows you to lose yourself in the wonder of the works."
–Colin Burrow, Evening Standard
“Bate’s general introduction to Shakespeare’s life, stage and reputation is superb, and the short introductions to individual works, in particular, are among the best of their kind available.”
—Michael Dobson, The London Review of Books
“Excellent, succinct notes and introductions to each play.”
—John Carey, The Sunday Times (London)
“Professor Jonathan Bate has written thought provoking essays for each play, discussing the source material and its influence on the play as well as pointing out the familiarities [for] contemporary audiences… The glossary includes much that has been ignored in the past …. This volume is an invaluable resource to anyone interested in or simply in love with Shakespeare.” —Speech and Drama
“Bate provides excellent introductory essays to each play and his terrific introduction, simply and effectively summarizing everything you need to know about Shakespeare, man and work, is alone worth buying the edition for.” —The Daily Express (UK)
“Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen have bravely gone where no Bard editors have gone before, basing the entire edition on the First Folio, the rehearsal room version authorized by actors John Hemmings and Henry Condell after Shakespeare’s death. For the first time, the Royal Shakespeare Company has been closely involved in the developing of a collected works, including photography of RSC productions and insights into staging decisions… this is Shakespeare as you like it.” —What’s On Stage