Much Ado About Nothing

Shakespeare, William

(Book - 2008)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Much Ado About Nothing
Sparkling with the witty dialogue between Beatrice and Benedicts, Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare's most enjoyable and theatrically successful comedies. This edition offers a newly edited text and an exceptionally helpful and critically aware introduction. Paying particular attention to analysis of the play's minor characters, Sheldon P Zitner discusses Shakespeare's transformation of his source material. He rethinks the attitudes to gender relations that underlie the comedy and determine its view of marriage. Allowing for the play's openness to reinterpretation by successive generations of readers and peformers, Zitner provides a socially analytic stage history, advancing new views for the actor as much as for the critic.
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2008
ISBN: 0199536112
Branch Call Number: 822.33 T3z 2008
Characteristics: ix, 214 p. :,ill. ;,20 cm
Additional Contributors: Zitner, Sheldon P.


From Library Staff

Using gossip and hearsay, Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into confessing their love for each other, and Claudio is tricked into rejecting Hero at the altar on the erroneous belief that she has been unfaithful. Now what happens?

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Dec 21, 2014
  • LibraryUser53 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Shakespeare's plays were meant to be watched, not read. But there's significant merit in reading the scripts -- or at least portions -- provided you have an annotated edition and plenty of time. The annotations are extremely helpful in understanding the play as they provide a translation from Shakespeare's English usage to modern usage. For example, in the first couple of pages "leagues" -- apparently a common way to speak of distance in the early 1600's -- translates as "about 3 miles"; the phrase "a kind overflow of kindness" translates as "a natural abundance of kindness"; and "He .. challenged him at bird-bolt" refers to a bow and arrow archery game using safe, blunt-headed arrows, as children might use. Apparently a common marksmanship-skill outdoor past time in those days. You can see how knowing that in advance makes the play more understandable. It can be slow going thinking about the intended meaning of all the annotations. An hour might only get you through 10 to 15 pages; but if you go slow and pay attention, it definitely makes for a fun and interesting hour. It's amazing how much the English language changes over time, and how different times are now than then. Especially man's relationship with nature. Another advange of the annotations is the interesting Textual Notes section which shows what changes have been made for clarity from the original printed edition, in this case the 1600 Quarto. "Quarto" refers to the dimensions of the original source document, roughly an oversized paperback book. These notes are fun to read too, as you may or may not agree the editorial changes are for the best. If there is a picture of a veiled lady on the paperback cover, you have the Bantam edition. That edition contains the original source text of the Matteo Bandello story that Shakespeare borrowed portions of his plot from. I sort of prefer the Folgers editions for reading Shakespeare because in those each scene is provided a short summary, lacking in the Bantam edition. But in a pinch the Bantam edition is good too.

Jun 11, 2013
  • dpecsreads rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Borrowed from the Brooklyn Public Library system. Fantastic Shakespearean comedy - which is sad at some points, but full of laughter (especially in the exchanges between Benedick and Beatrice and with Dogberry - any Shakespearean play with a drunk or a fool (or some combo of/variation on the two) is bound to have a few laughs). I read this in preparation for the new Joss Whedon adaptation of the play.


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