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1.0 out of 5 starspirated/fake copy
Reviewed in the United States on October 11, 2020
I had no idea anyone would pirate a copy of Shakespeare, but this one was a fake. My first clue was that it didn't make sense when I tried to read it because it didn't start at the beginning of Act I Scene I. The pages are out of order. Then when I looked closer, I saw that they misspelled "edited" on the cover. It says "editied" instead. DO NOT BUY if you actually want to read The Tempest.
5.0 out of 5 starsGenuinely outstanding text for actors and directors of Shakespeare.
Reviewed in the United States on December 7, 2016
I really can't speak highly enough of this version of The Tempest. The notes on the text, the layout, and the modern typeface combined with First Folio spelling and punctuation make this the most actable version of a Shakespeare play that I've seen. They've even laid it out so that each page of text is faced with a blank page, perfect for writing blocking, text, and direction notes. The only small gripe I have, and it is a minute one, is that the binding could be sturdier - the cover of mine is busily in the process of falling off, and we're not halfway through the rehearsal process yet. But even given that, I would rate this 6 stars if I could. In the future, I will be using the Applause First Folio versions of any Shakespeare plays where the definitive text is FF.
5.0 out of 5 starsIan Myles Slater on: The Tempest Revisited
Reviewed in the United States on October 12, 2012
Since Amazon has, as often, bundled together a dozen (or more) different editions of the same text -- in this case, Shakespeare's late Romance / Comedy, "The Tempest" -- I should make it clear that I'm reviewing the Tempest as presented in the old "New Arden Edition" (1958), edited by Frank Kermode (since replaced in the series), and in the current "Folger Shakespeare Library / New Folger Library Shakespeare" series edited by Mowat and Werstine. (Alas, other editors' names are sometimes attached to the pictures....)
Since Amazon also bundles in Kindle editions as if they were identical to the print editions they are listed with, I will warn the reader that (so far) none of the "Tempest" editions I'm discussing are actually available in Kindle format. (This isn't an entirely new problem; a lot of Amazon's lists of "other formats" really refer to other editions of a given book.)
The play itself is one of my favorites, and these days its resemblance to genre fantasy may make it more accessible; many readers already will have met counterparts to short-tempered old magician Prospero, his naïve daughter Miranda, and their reluctant servants, the spirit Ariel and the thoroughly material Caliban. (Not that I'm proposing a huge influence on the genre -- Shakespeare was drawing on standard motifs of folk-tales and romances, and these have persisted in various guises.) For that matter, the back-story about power politics and betrayal in (a thoroughly fictional) Renaissance Italy is of a familiar type as well.
The Kermode "Tempest" replaced a 1902 Arden Edition, edited by Morton Luce, which had appeared in four editions, and Kermode's version is therefore sometimes known as the fifth (and, with revision, the sixth) edition. This is a documented critical text (as much as is necessary for a play with a straightforward publication history) with good interpretive notes and historical and thematic analyses. It reflects the concerns of an older generation of critics, but what it includes is no less valuable than the concerns with race, gender, and colonialism in the Vaughan and Mason New[er] Arden edition of 1999. (Interestingly, Vaughan and Mason return to Luce's focus on the pamphlet literature concerning Jamestown and the (accidental) colonization of Bermuda; but Luce was more concerned with their bibliographic problems than with implications concerning imperialism.) Kermode examines the long tradition of allegorical readings of the play, including the autobiographical, the more recent emphasis on Symbolism, and issues explicitly raised in the play, such as Nature versus Nurture. It is a solid piece of work, even if currently fashionable issues of race, colonialism, and gender are under-served.
In my experience, the Kermode edition is accessible to some High School students, particularly with a strong personal interest in Shakespeare, and some prior acquaintance with the play, but for classroom use is really best suited to the college level. A reader already familiar with basic Shakespeare studies will probably find it enlightening.
As is standard for Arden additions, it has a fine set of useful Appendices (six), and a sheaf of extended "Additional Notes," including a set specifically part of the sixth edition. The running notes to the text are packed with information about vocabulary, grammar, and rhetoric, including unresolved issues which some editions quietly ignore.
The volume appeared under several imprints, with a variety of covers in its trade paperback versions, ranging from the title on a pale background to an 18th-century illustration of the play. The last printings (I think) were by Routledge in 1987 and 1989, with, like other Arden volumes of the time, cover art by one of the Brotherhood of English Ruralists, in this case Ann Arnold. She offers a distinctly European visualization of Caliban, who is often treated by critics (with some justification in the play) as, thematically, a stand-in for Native Americans, enslaved Africans, etc.
Starting in the early 1990s, the Mowat-Werstine series for the Folger Library replaced the old "Folger Library General Reader's Shakespeare," edited by Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. LaMar. That was published in the 1950s and 1960s, and most familiar in their small mass-market paperback Washington Square Press editions (there were also some from a sister-imprint, Pocket Books). The "General Reader's" edition of "The Tempest" was published in 1961, and was not revised beyond changes in the cover art. As novice reader of Shakespeare, I found it, like other volumes in the series, helpful at first, then limiting.
The "New Folger" series preserves the characteristic features of facing-page notes, and the use of illustrations from period sources in the Folger Library collections, but is completely new otherwise. The introductory material is longer, and much better; it tries to address the sort of questions students actually ask, instead of guessing at what they will find confusing; points of contact between Elizabethan poetic rhetoric and ordinary speech are (rightly) emphasized. An essay on contemporary critical issues is included for each play -- in "The Tempest" it is by one of the editors, but other volumes have contributions by a variety of scholars and critics.
The 1994 mass-market "New Folger" edition of "The Tempest" featured a lovely cover by Kinuko Y. Craft, portraying a rather good Ariel, an imperious white-bearded Prospero, and a young-looking Miranda (she should be about fifteen, although finding someone that age who can play the part is a challenge mostly avoided). Later printings, under the "Folger Shakespeare Library" heading, have fairly non-descript covers, "mottled" or "marbled" in various colors; "The Tempest" appeared in this form in 2004. Some of the plays were also issued in trade paperback; I haven't seen one for "The Tempest," but Amazon lists a 2002 hardcover, which I also haven't seen.
The New Folger format, like the old one, does not provide for critical readings, source documents, and other aides to the reader found in the Arden editions, and many others, notably the Signet Classics Shakespeare (often revised and expanded) and the Norton Critical Editions. However, it has more in the way of direct aides to the reader than the Pelican and New Pelican Shakespeare (which do have some outstanding introductions).
5.0 out of 5 starsIan Myles Slater on: Not the New Pelican
Reviewed in the United States on November 17, 2012
For those not already familiar with the play, it is the only one of Shakespeare plays without a recognizable source for the main plot, although there is documentation for many details in the voyage literature of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, especially the earlier years of the Virginia colony. A few hints may have come from histories of Italy, but the names don't match up with any specific events. Most of the other parallels to the plot which have been identified are too general to tie directly to the play, although they may be helpful in understanding it.
The grumpy magician, his beautiful daughter, the handsome young hero, and the magician's attendant creatures, are commonplaces of traditional fairytales and medieval and renaissance romances. (Not to mention a lot of modern genre fantasy, and older science fiction.) So, too, are wicked brothers and scheming courtiers.
In other hands, these elements could have made a rambling crowd-pleaser like the then-popular "Mucedorus," Shakespeare, who was at home with the plots spread widely through time and space, here makes them the subject of a tightly constructed play. As has long been noted, "The Tempest" is one of the few Shakespeare plays to observe the so-called "classical unities" of (elapsed) time and a single place, in this case, a few hours on an enchanted. In this is its unlike most other Elizabethan and Jacobean "romance" plays, very much including his own earlier ventures, such as "Twelfth Night" and "A Winter's Tale."
"The Tempest" is one of my personal favorites in the Shakespeare canon, and it has inspired a long series of pastiches, retellings, parodies and satires, adaptations, operatic adaptations, and just plain productions. (My personal pick -- a purely sentimental one -- is "Forbidden Planet," the 1956 movie starring Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, and Leslie Nielsen, all upstaged by Robbie the Robot, in a double role emulating both the helpful spirit Ariel and the bumbling Caliban.)
Anyone considering ordering THIS particular edition should be aware that it is part of the OLD "Pelican Shakespeare" series issued 1956-1967, under the General Editorship of Alfred Harbage. It was published by Penguin Books, which then used the Pelican imprint for various types of non-fiction books and editions of literature. Each volume had "Shakespeare and His Stage," a brief essay by Harbage, and an introduction by the editor of the play. The early editions were instantly recognizable as mass-market (small) paperbacks with spines and covers mainly in pale blue. A compendium, "The Complete Pelican Shakespeare," with revised texts, was eventually issued as a fat hardcover, and the whole series was then re-issued in individual paperbacks. In either edition, they were bare-bones packages, with a brief "Note on the Text" and unfamiliar vocabulary glossed at the foot of the page. The short introductions by the volume editors were often quite good; in the case of "The Tempest" (1959, revised 1970), it consists of eleven pages by the distinguished critic Northrop Frye, still valuable as a summary of his ideas on literary modes and genres.
There is now a "Second Series" or NEW "Pelican Shakespeare," under the Penguin imprint, with Stephen Orgel and A.R. Braunmuller as General Editiors, issued in the early years of the present century. It is in the larger trade paperback format now commonly used by Penguin. They otherwise retain the basic structure of Publisher's Note, the General Editors on "The Theatrical World" and "The Texts of Shakespeare," an introduction by the volume editor, a Note on the Text," and the text with vocabulary footnotes (embracing slightly more complicated issues, such as puns).
There is yet another possible source of confusion, a completely independent "Penguin Shakespeare" series, apparently issued mainly in the U.K., and much more elaborate (closer in format to the American Signet Shakespeare and recent Folger Library editions).
Although standard practices in editing Shakespeare changed over the almost fifty years separating the initiations of the two Pelican series, these changes are of remarkably little relevance to "The Tempest," which appeared in the First Folio, and only the First Folio, and in a fairly clean text to boot. Major issues (outside speculations that we have a heavily revised or cut version of the play) are problems in assigning prose passages to the intended speakers, and occasional metrical passages embedded in prose passages. (These theories are in part related to whether information on the performance of the play in 1611 indicates its first production.)
Such problems are most acute in the actual storm of the title, Act One, Scene One, in which the Master of a ship, the Boatswain, assorted members of the crew, and some fairly useless courtiers are all talking at once. As a stage direction in the Folio describes offstage cries for help, "a confused noise." Only one personality stands out, the wise old councillor, Gonzalo, mostly for his remarkably calm preaching at fellow-courtiers and seamen alike (and so continues throughout the play).
Here and elsewhere, Frye's text occasionally "corrects" some of the Folio's stage directions -- which are insufficient by modern standards, and often confusingly placed -- and normalizes the spelling (the Pelican practice), but is otherwise comfortingly unremarkable, with no effort to make Shakespeare say what he ought to have said, instead of what the sixteenth and seventeenth-century texts in fact say. It remains readable, and useful -- but don't think that you are getting the benefit of more recent scholarship on the play, or of, for example, a better knowledge of theatrical conditions around 1611.
5.0 out of 5 starsthy broomgroves Whose shadow the dismissed bachelor loves
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 8, 2018
I always found Prospero’s masque at the end of The Tempest difficult. Back in the late sixties I was too inexperienced to sense how it was a mockery of itself; and studying for “A” level, it was just not an option, to see the play performed on any stage or in any film. So it was that the masque never lived for me on the page. The peerless Arden could have lightened up. Just over half way through the plot it is real fun to look “behind the scenes” where Cupid has been trying to get the lovers to indulge in pre-marital intercourse. Cupid has now run off “cutting the clouds towards Paphos”. The light-hearted references to agriculture tie the borderlands of Scotland to Cinque Port marshes of the South. In the way that Penny Lane by The Beatles is wistful, the masque is also fun. I must blame Arden 2 because that masque seemed to be the final straw or “stover”. Stover is that female-tennis-player-of-a-word used by Ceres when she is summoning a rainbow to that “short-grassed green” that Miranda’s father has prepared with Ariel for his masque to mark the covenants of his daughter and her beloved. “And flat meads thatch’d with stover” is footnoted in the Arden 3 as “meadows covered with growth of fodder for sheep. Stover is any kind of grass that is stored to make fodder”. The Arden 2 says “winter food for sheep”. This is not helpful comment. How can a field be “thatched”? There should be the clarification that only when cut and left to dry may the field be described as “thatched”. Arden might have added perhaps a “long note” to the fact that even today, in some places, depending on geography, region, climate, and culture, hay is still gathered loose and stacked into stooks without being baled first. “Thatched” means arranged in such a manner that the hay itself "sheds" water when it falls as rain; much as a garden “shed” does. When Iris the rainbow is summoning Ceres, she asks Ceres to leave her wheat and oat crops and the rye and barley. The “turfy mountains” bring to mind the hills of Scotland and The North “where live nibbling sheep”. The Arden 3 struggles to shed real light onto the words “pioned and twilled brims”. It admits that this is a “long-debated phrase”. Anyone familiar today with the lowlands of Romney Marsh will have seen that the reeds all along the drainage dykes are pulled back these days with mechanical diggers. In Shakespeare’s time the drainage channels also needed to be freed of reeds and obstruction from time to time. This is done in autumn after the reeds and sedges are done. The growth is uprooted and pulled back to clear the channel. In spring this provides good soil for plants to grow. The flowers that grow in spring to garnish that unsightly mud include arrowhead and starry flowers which could in the same way be woven into “chaste crowns” for nymphs (and lovers and children). The Arden 3 is particularly obtuse when it deals with the words that describe a particularly Scottish plant, the broom. Iris beckons Ceres to leave “thy broomgroves Whose shadow the dismissed bachelor loves, Being lass-lorn.” Here is Arden 3: “Broomgroves: areas of terrain covered with yellow-flowered shrubs. Although editors have debated whether broom, which Gerard defines as ‘a bush or shrubbie plant”’(Gerard 1130) can be described as growing in a grove, which usually consists of trees (var,201.2) we agree with Orgel that the passage should be taken as Shakespeare’s invention. Orgel also notes that “broom figures significantly in magic spells designed to ensure the success of love affairs”, which explains why the dismissed bachelor loves it (Oxf, 174)”.
Child’s reference work “The Scottish and English Ballads” lists a song (#217) that is relevant to the study of The Tempest. You can read the original published pages on Archive.org. The song is called “Broom of the Cowdenknows”. When Iris, the wife of Juno, materialises, as a rainbow, for Prospero, in the masque played out as the last hurrah of the Magus before he drowns his book, Iris, the messenger from “the queen o’ th’ sky” calls upon Ceres to leave her crops and cereals and the pastures she calls home. The call to leave in The Tempest is a little difficult to follow at first. The call, simplified reads “Ceres, leave your cereal fields, leave your sheep, your hay-stacked fields, leave your dykes whose banks of drawn up reeds and mud will soon, in rainy April, be laced with flowers that nymphs and shepherds will use in much the same way to make “chaste crowns” for themselves. Iris also asks Ceres to leave “thy broomgroves Whose shadow the dismissed bachelor loves”. The Daily Mail late in 2016 reported that “Cowdenknowes mansion in Earlston, Berwickshire, a medieval estate that once sheltered Mary Queen of Scots has had £450,000 slashed from its original £2million asking price”. When I studied this play for the London GCE back in 1969, using the Arden 2 the reference to “broomgroves” joined the fleet of sinking phrases I tried to keep afloat in my memory for the exam. It was only, years later, in Stratford’s New Place Garden that I saw the words, as it were, “for the first time”. The line was taken out of context, engraved on a plate with the words “ BROOM Cytisus scoparius”. Why was it, I asked myself, that the groves of broom were loved by the “dismissèd bachelor”? Was he moping under the arches of the yellow broom, as I have done myself, as a boy under the bracken or the gorse? Child’s reference work “The Scottish and English Ballads” offers an exhaustive collection of songs that refer to the broom of the Cowdenknows. You can hear Ewan MacColl singing one of them on YouTube. However … and I quote from Child: There is an English " ditty " (not a traditional ballad) of a northern lass who got harm while milking her father's ewes, which was printed in the first half of the seventeenth century. It is here given in an appendix. This ditty is "to a pleasant Scotch tune called The broom of Cowden Knowes," and the burden is :
With, O the broome, the bonny broome, The broome of Cowden Knowes ! Fain would I be in the North Countrey, To milk my dadyes ewes.
The tune was remarkably popular, and the burden is found, variously modified, in connection with several songs. Burton, in the fifth edition of his Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford, 1638, p. 636, says : " The very rusticks and hog-rubbers . . . have their ballads, country tunes, the broome, the bonny, bonny broome," etc. (Chappell). This remark is not found in the fourth edition, Oxford, 1632, p. 544. This song or “English ditty” was widely known. Burton’s reference in 1638 seems to be the earliest. The Tempest, if we are to believe the dating “experts” was written in 1610, the last of Shakespeare’s plays, written in the reign of the Scottish James 1. Ceres is asked to leave the broomgroves of the Scottish Border country to come down “here on this grass plot”. It is my contention that this song provides all the explanation necessary. It is a beautiful song, the version of it, sung by a “dismissed bachelor” can be heard by North Sea Gas (and others) on YouTube. He is longing for the Scotch broom that grew in abundance around the castle of Cowdenknowes where in 1566 Mary Queen of Scots famously stayed some years before being beheaded. If James 1 ever saw the play he would have been touched.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 22, 2013
I bought the Kindle version of this great play to facilitate reading out loud in a group. But the erratic pagination, with the text suddenly broken by blocks of footnotes, often in the middle of a sentence, made me give up and return gratefully to a properly printed edition - albeit one with a much smaller typeface. It is also extraordinary that the Acts and Scenes are not individually indexed in the table of contents. The whole play has but a single heading! To find your place you have to page through the whole text, or search for a key phrase. To have set this up properly would have meant but an hour or so of editing work. Not to have done so takes away one of the main benefits of an electronic version. Similarly, the footnotes could surely have been better placed all together at the end with live links from the text. The way they are done at the moment is simply infuriating. The impression I am getting is that Kindle editions are sometimes created carelessly by people who have no love of the text or concern about presentation. Or even, extraordinarily, awareness of the potential of the new medium. Frankly, this was a complete waste of the admittedly modest amount of money it cost.
5.0 out of 5 starsGood version for children who can read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 23, 2017
This is an excellent version for children. WE bought it for our grand daughter who is 8. We were taking her to see the new RSC production of the Tempest and wanted her to know the story. She read the whole thing, and was interested in the characters and plot. This is an achievement for the author.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 18, 2020
Its shakespeare. It's terrible. I had to buy it for my daughter for school Amazon will now blight me with recommendations under the delusion i like shakespeare. I don't. Its terrible. They inflict it on children at school to discourage plays and reading
5.0 out of 5 stars--- Shakespeare's The Tempest --
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 31, 2012
The last, and in my opinion, the greatest of Shakespeare's plays. The story concerns a shipwreck whose survivors land on a mysterious island inhabited by Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan and his daughter Miranda. There is also a dark, savage, native character named Caliban. During the play Miranda utters the phrase "Oh brave new world that has such people in it", which inspired the title of Aldous Huxley's very popular book "Brave New World". The Tempest has also been drawn upon heavily during both the recent Olympic and Paralympic ceremonies. The attraction of the Arden edition of the play is that apart from the play itself it makes available a wealth of scholarly material relevant to its creation. For that reason I would love to have Arden editions of all of the plays.