So, I’m a total Shakespeare nerd. For real. It all started in fifth grade when I stole my Dad’s copy of the Complete Works from when he was in high school and memorized Hamlet’s to be or not to be soliloquy for a talent night. This will be a review of Dad’s copy (cause I still think of it as Dad’s copy, despite the fact that it is effectively mine), then I’ll review the copy I’m using in class this semester, then through specific plays.
Dad’s copy was published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich and edited by G.B. Harrison. There is a TON of information in this copy. There is lots of information in the introduction, which is made up of multiple parts, there are plates with pictures and illustrations to help you visualize as you’re reading, and really complete appendices. The footnotes are A GOD-SEND. These footnotes are very detailed and complete, giving a wonderful glimpse into Elizabethan theater. The footnotes are denoted in the text itself with a small circle, which makes it easy to know what is addressed and what is not. There are also interesting comments about the different quartos and folios.
Being a copy of the complete works, it also gives a treatment of Shakespeare’s verse, which are also helpfully footnoted. This copy was also owned by my Dad, so his scribbles are in the copy as well, which I really love. Not because what he wrote was particularly insightful, but simply by virtue of its being his handwriting. I also just really like books that have writing in them; it makes me feel like Harry reading from the Half-Blood Prince’s copy of a text book.x
On a different note, it smells fantastic. If smart were a smell, that is what this smells like, honestly. It’s last copyright date is 1965 and some of the sources mentioned in the Reading List it also gives at the end are dated in the early-mid 70s. So, the book is at least around forty years old. Apparently, it was a very good year. 😉
This copy is an 11/10. I absolutely adore it, and I’ve used it even in the class I’m doing this semester for its footnotes. This maybe in part because it was my first copy, it was my Dad’s copy, or simply because of the smell. I really don’t care though. The rating stands.
Do any of you have a copy, of Shakespeare or otherwise, that you adore? Not just for the content, but because of some other characteristic? I’d love to hear about it! Until next time, keep reading and be kind!