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    $19.99 $13.09
    1. William Shakespeare: The Complete
    $360.00 $359.99 list($600.00)
    2. The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare:
    $8.96 $3.90 list($9.95)
    3. The Glass Menagerie
    $10.36 $8.54 list($12.95)
    4. Doubt: A Parable
    $80.20 $44.00
    5. Literature: An Introduction to
    $8.25 $6.50 list($11.00)
    6. The Crucible (Penguin Classics)
    $8.25 $2.50 list($11.00)
    7. Death of A Salesman
    $3.95 $2.22
    8. Twelfth Night, Or, What You Will:
    $4.99 $2.39
    9. Hamlet (Folger Shakespeare Library)
    $5.36 $1.30 list($5.95)
    10. A Raisin in the Sun
    $90.80 $50.00
    11. Longman Anthology of Drama and
    $6.26 $1.39 list($6.95)
    12. Four Major Plays: A Doll House,
    $61.00 $46.75
    13. Literature : An Introduction to
    $8.55 $7.38
    14. LA Casa De Bernarda Alba
    $7.50 $3.18 list($10.00)
    15. Macbeth (Cambridge School Shakespeare)
    $6.26 $3.45 list($6.95)
    16. A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare
    $22.05 list($35.00)
    17. Complete Poems and Plays,: 1909-1950
    $2.99 $0.01 list($1.00)
    18. A Midsummer Night's Dream (Dover
    $69.75 $64.30 list($73.85)
    19. The Norton Shakespeare: Based
    $5.39 $3.65 list($5.99)
    20. The Miracle Worker

    1. William Shakespeare: The Complete Works, Deluxe Edition
    by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
    list price: $19.99
    our price: $19.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0517053616
    Catlog: Book (1990-09-08)
    Publisher: Gramercy
    Average Customer Review: 3.74 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    This complete and unabridged edition contains every word that Shakespeare wrote — all 37 tragedies, comedies, and histories, plus the sonnets.You’ll find such classics as The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing and The Taming of the Shrew.This Library of Literary Classics edition is bound in padded leather with luxurious gold-stamping on the front and spine, satin ribbon marker and gilded edges. Other titles in this series include: Charlotte & Emily Bronte: The Complete Novels; Edgar Allan Poe: Selected Works; Mark Twain: Selected Works; Charles Dickens: Four Complete Novels;Lewis Carroll: The Complete, Fully Illustrated Works; and Jane Austen: The Complete Novels. ... Read more

    Reviews (50)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An important Review
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    4-0 out of 5 stars It's NOT Old English
    While Shakespeare was producing much of his work hundreds of years ago, he belongs to the Early Modern era of the English Language. This particular period started approximately 60 years before he was born.

    Many of the comments seem to think that the stilted grammar and flow (that only occur to current speakers of the language)determine whether a work is written in Old English. Some have mentioned Beowulf, which very few have likely read untranslated. If you can't understand a translated work, blame the person who authored IT and not the original work.

    Old English approximates a German sound. If one were to hear something read in OE, they may guess the language was an older form of German. Middle English, the sort you'll come across reading UNTRANSLATED Chaucer, is much closer to what many would recognize as an English sounding language. It was highly ornate and approximated and Irish sound.

    Early Modern English is basically what we are provided with when encountering Shakespeare. The language isn't as difficult to navigate as the references, especially in Shakespeare, which are historical as well as contemporary.

    When considering the importance of Shakespeare or works that came before him, it is useful to consider the endeavor as trying to find one's cultural heritage. Many of today's popular literature is founded, deeply, in what has come before us. Irreverance and often the backdrops surrounding our most beloved characters have references much older than many can imagine. Even Harry Potter closely resembles elements of Beowulf, Chaucer, and Shakespeare to name the 3 of the more recognizeable.

    Literature that has come before our time does tend to get treated with a little too much reverance, but the reasons people consider these classics to be important can't be denied.

    This volume, lacking footnotes and perverting line structure, is still nifty in it's economical purpose, and is worth owning if you can make use of it.

    LL.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Book for Shelf - Not Terribly Accessible Shakespeare
    I originally bought this book used and later discovered that this was the ideal situation. It is handy to have all of Shakespeare's works (plays and sonnets) under one cover, but there are several drawbacks. Each page is split into two columns, causing the plays to be read like a newspaper. Since linebreaks are important in Shakespeare (remember the iambic pentameter), some lines are too long for the margins, causing the remaining words to hover like ghosts away from the sentence.

    Also, this book contains no footnotes. This is mainly how buying the individual play is superior to the collected works. Olde English isn't always intuitive, and this particular book leaves you to find out a word's meaning for yourself.

    But this book certainly looks pretty on your shelf. :)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A bargain at twice the price!
    Quite simply the greatest writer of all time, Shakespeare belongs on every bookshelf. I have this, and it is a treasure. For those of you who sweated through Shakespeare in high school, give it a try. You might be surprised by some of the stories you never knew. I would gladly have paid fifty bucks for one of these, and was thrilled to get it for twenty in hardcover. If you have kids, this is a must-have. If you don't, get it anyway. Although there are no footnotes, or any attempt to 'translate' King's English into American, I think these things are basically unnecessary. The sonnets also deserve a perusal, but I like the tragedies the best, particularly Julius Caesar and Titus Andronicus.

    5-0 out of 5 stars In Defense of Shakespeare
    I must say, after reading the "review" about shakespeare,
    the one discussing the "cult of shakespeare"...

    What is the point of this posting? It's not a review of the
    particular volume, instead it is a rather caustic opinion of
    Shakespeare, which focuses on current society's teaching
    and appreciation of Shakespeare's works, and not
    the actual works themselves. Why is this relevant, and
    why has it been posted? Is it entertaining? Are we really
    interested in his personal criteria for judging literature?

    In defense of Shakespeare and this volume, whether it be
    printed nicely or not, to have his works present is better
    than to not, even if some might say it's only taking up
    shelve space. I've come to his plays later in life, and
    of my own volition. I need no glossary or interpreter.

    Quite simply, there is a reason that Shakespeare is still
    performed, and written about today, and it has nothing
    whatsoever to do with this faceless cult conspiracy theory
    that this guy is referring to. It doesn't exist.

    What does exist is a great body of work which will provide
    much pleasure and entertainment. I suggest that the
    comments made by the cult conspiracy guy be taken with a grain
    of salt. Some people just can't accept greatness in others,
    even if they are dead, and must convince themselves that
    the greatness is imagined.

    Long Live Shakespeare (cult member since 2003) ... Read more


    2. The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare: 38 Fully-Dramatized Plays
    by William Shakespeare, Eileen Atkins, Joseph Fiennes, John Gielgud, Imogen Stubbs, Claran Hinds, Simon Russell Beale
    list price: $600.00
    our price: $360.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1932219005
    Catlog: Book (2003-03)
    Publisher: Audio Partners
    Sales Rank: 49628
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    For the first time in audio publishing history, all of Shakespeare's plays are available in one extraordinary, definitive collection. Based on The Complete Pelican Shakespeare, here are all of the master's 38 plays, complete and unabridged, fully dramatized on CDs with an original score and sound design for each play. A monumental project that spanned five years and cost $3 million, The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare represents the collective vision of four people: Shakespeare scholar Tom Treadwell, film producer Bill Shepherd, BBC director Clive Brill, and composer Dominique Le Gendre. Together they have assembled the 400 great actors of the British theater and produced a landmark digital recording with a sophisticated layering of sound that immerses the listener in Shakespeare's world. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A monumental project with flaws but immense overall value
    To Buy or Not to Buy!

    Educators, lovers of theatre and great literature--take note! Late in the 1990s, Harper Row began to release on cassettes the Arkangel Complete Shakespeare, all of which I reviewed in one paper or another. Using some of the best of the young theatrical talent in Great Britain and some of the older established stars of stage and screen, the producers gave us readings of every single word of every single play by Shakespeare, including the seldom-performed "Two Noble Kinsmen" which is partially by Shakespeare.

    Well, hold on! Audio Partners has been contracted to release the entire set on CDs. The trick is that you cannot purchase the individual sets but are required to purchase the entire package of 38 plays for $600. That is 98 CDs in all with a playing time of just over 101 hours! Libraries and school departments take note.

    Hearing them as they were released on tape in batches of four or five, I was impressed mostly with the enormity of the project but found some things to quibble about. Casting Oberon and Titania with a pair whose voices were South African or Jamaican (no Henry Higgins, I) made some sense in that it emphasized their other-worldly-ness. So did assigning Malvolio in "Twelfth Night" to an actor with a distinct Scottish accent, but giving Mercutio in "Romeo and Juliet" to the same actor was absurd. Then too there is that sudden sound effect of a train pulling out of a station in the middle of "All's Well That Ends Well"! Granted there was a production current then that did place the play in more modern times, but when one is hearing a recording with no clue as to setting, the result was jarring and should have been omitted.

    In the grander roles such as Hamlet, Othello and the like, the younger actors give modern readings which might strike some as slighting demands of the high poetry. And those who long for the grander readings can turn to the re-releases of the old Shakespeare Recording Society sets.

    One great disadvantage to the cassettes is that you could locate a specific scene only with much fast forwarding. With CDs, of course, you can jump to any scene by pressing the Skip button on your player. When a scene continues onto another disc, the tracking list tells you at which line the scene picks up.

    The price might be prohibitive to all but an institution--but I feel that every library should find its way to purchasing the complete set in much the same way that many purchased the complete set of BBC Shakespeare videos.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Get it. Period.
    If you have to empty your penny jar, if you have to cash in your IRA, do so. Get this. These are absolutely superb recordings of some of the best English ever written and some of the most memorable characters ever created. So you don't recognize every word. Doesn't matter. The excellent actors carry you along and draw you intimately into the drama.

    You can follow the play in text if you choose to -- they follow the readily available Complete Pelikan Shakespeare. But you don't need to -- if you aren't familiar with a play the brief four or five line summaries of each scene in the small fold-out accompanying each play are quite sufficient to know which characters are involved. It's possible to listen to these while driving, but you can't concentrate fully unless you're totally stuck in traffic. My number one recommendation is to take a Walkman and a pair of headphones to a hammock under a tree and indulge yourself. Second best is a comfy easy chair.

    However you listen to these, do get them and listen to them. Or persuade your local library to get the set.

    The price -- ...-- seems high until you figure that this is 38 complete plays -- less than the cost of the same play in paperback -- and there are a total of 83 disks, so you're paying just $5 per disk. Cheap! And these aren't some pop music you'll listen to once; these are a lifetime investment for yourself and your family.

    Get it. Period.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thrilling Drama
    These performances will keep you spellbound. There is something profound and amazing about listening to this Shakespeare, probably owing to the combination of perfect sound; nuanced, captivating, stellar acting; and fully comprehending the magic of The Bard's words. The quality of the recording is impeccable - there are no glitches, and the volume-level is consistent. Listening on my CD player at home, and following along with the text (not included with the CDs), I feel like I'm "getting" Shakespeare, and being moved by his words, like never before. I even find this listening more satisfying than seeing a Shakespeare play because I can better grasp and appreciate every line. The acting is first-rate (most actors are well-recognized RSC alumns, many of whom have become respected British film stars - ahem - Joseph Fiennes, Ciaran Hinds, Simon Russell Beale, Amanda Root, to name a few), and the clarity of the production picks up the most delicate subtleties of each performance. The background music complements and enhances each play, but isn't obtrusive. I wholeheartedly recommend this set - it will take you to a new level with Shakespeare. ... Read more


    3. The Glass Menagerie
    by Tennessee Williams
    list price: $9.95
    our price: $8.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0811214044
    Catlog: Book (1999-06-01)
    Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
    Sales Rank: 32949
    Average Customer Review: 3.57 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    No play in the modern theatre has so captured the imagination and heart of the American public as Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie. Menagerie was Williams's first popular success and launched the brilliant, if somewhat controversial, career of our pre-eminent lyric playwright. Since its premiere in Chicago in 1944, with the legendary Laurette Taylor in the role of Amanda, the play has been the bravura piece for great actresses from Jessica Tandy to Joanne Woodward, and is studied and performed in classrooms and theatres around the world. The Glass Menagerie (in the reading text the author preferred) is now available only in its New Directions Paperbook edition. A new introduction by prominent Williams scholar Robert Bray, editor of The Tennessee Williams Annual Review, reappraises the play more than half a century after it won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award: "More than fifty years after telling his story of a family whose lives form a triangle of quiet desperation, Williams's mellifluous voice still resonates deeply and universally." This edition of The Glass Menagerie also includes Williams's essay on the impact of sudden fame on a struggling writer, "The Catastrophe of Success," as well as a short section of Williams's own "Production Notes." The cover features the classic line drawing by Alvin Lustig, originally done for the 1949 New Directions edition. ... Read more

    Reviews (99)

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Glass Menagerie
    The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams, is truely a book you can't put down. Each charachter is so different from another, and somehow you connect with each one, whether you like their actions or not. Amanda, the mother, and your two kids, Tom and Laura, live a depressing life starting from when their father left years ago.
    I for one, really enjoyed reading this book. I liked that it was in play format, making it an extremly easy read, not to mention it was not very long. I found myself finishing the play in one day because I couldn't put it down, I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. My favorite character was the mother. I thought she was a riot because of how she was always on her kids for something, whether it was Tom, and how he was always out late at the movies; or Laura, and how she never had gentleman callers. Although, she did annoy me at times when she would speak of old memories when her gentleman callers would be lined up for her each week. She reminded me of someone that did not have a lot of money, but loved pretending like she lived some other life to show the gentleman callers how good the family had it. I also like Tom's character a lot. I thought it was really easy for people to relate to him. He was an average man working at a shoe warehouse to support his mother and sister. I really connected with Tom because I could feel for how truely frustrated with his life he was. I felt bad for the numbing routine of his job, and then coming home to his nagging mother. Although I do not agree with how he choose to deal with it(movies and excessive drinking), that is how he escaped the reality of his life. The only thing I did not really like about this book was Laura. I think is was because we are such different people. It annoyed me how shy she was, and quick to give up on things because she was nervous. I felt that if I was actually in a room with her, her nervousness would just fill the room immeadiatly and I would become uncomfortable. Her whole presence just annoyed me. I didn't like the fact that she gave up on her schooling, and pretended as if she was still going. It bothered me that she was okay not doing anything with her life. All that mattered to her was her "glass menagerie".
    After many of countless nights of Amanda begging for a gentleman caller, Tom finally brought one home for Laura. Ironically, it was Laura's highschool crush, Jim O'Connor. She was so nervous, she couldn't even open the door until forced to by Amanda. She was so sick to her stomach that she didn't even show up to dinner, which again annoyed me. When Amanda was cleaning the kitchen, Jim went for Laura. The two of them talked, danced and even kissed. Jim really got to Laura and opened her up. At this point I was really happy, because for the first time I wasn't annoyed by Laura, but I was thrilled for her. By the way things were going, I thought Laura was going to find someone. That is until Jim apologized for the kiss and explained to her that he was in a serious relationship, and actually engaged. I was really sympathetic towards Laura now, and I felt bad that her heart was broken by Jim. I thought the ending of the play was good. The only thing that bothered my is that I didn't get to see what happened to the characters. I was left wanting to know more, like if Laura ever got married, or if Tom ever found a job that would make him happy.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Glass Menagerie
    "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams was very well written. Williams did an excellent job of portraying life-like characters. They were so well written, that they seemed real, like us at certain points in our lives. At one time, we were all like the mother, Amanda, who seems to live in the past, and be kind of overbearing at times, for example when Laura only went to three days of her business class that she was sort of forced into going to. Laura, the shy character, also is very life like in the fact that we all were a bit like her too. Everyone, at one point in their life was really shy and just wanted to stay locked up in their room. Tom, the son, is the narrator in the story. He constantly tries to escape reality by going outside and to the movies. He's the sort of person who just needs to constantly escape from life. The main theme of "The Glass Menagerie" is just that. Trying to escape from the sometimes-disappointing reality called life. The plot was simple, yet very effective. A reason for the simplicity I think is that this book is meant for us to realize that even though things may have been better in the past, not to live in it, but rather to live in the present, because we may be missing something even better than what we had that is right in front of us, waiting for us to notice it, but we're so enthralled in the what has happened in the past we don't see it. Basically what "The Glass Menagerie" is trying to tell us is that we need to live in the future and if we don't, then we will miss out on all the un-lived life that lies right in front of us, waiting for us to discover it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "What shall I wish for, Mother?"
    This drama of the Wingfield family is one of the twentieth century's great American plays, and it is no surprise that it is still taught throughout the country as an example of fine theater. The characters are psychologically true for their 1930's setting, and they reveal themselves brilliantly through their dialogue. The story is simple, the symbolism is obvious and readily understandable, the claustrophobic and depressing atmosphere is heightened by the fact that all the action takes place in a small apartment, and the line between reality and dream world, while clear to the audience, is tragically unclear to the players on stage.

    Though the play may be structurally and aesthetically satisfying to an older audience familiar with this period, it may be less successful, after sixty years, to a contemporary audience. Amanda is so meddlesome that her good heart, her dreams for her family, and her control over Tom are unrealistic by today's standards. Tom, with his sense of obligation toward the family, sometimes appears personally weak. Most difficult, however, is Laura, so pathologically shy and introverted that she is happy to stay indoors all day, polishing her glass animals and remaining completely dependent on her brother and mother to support and protect her.

    This has always been one of my favorite plays, but reading or watching it now feels a bit like watching a costume drama. Though it is brilliantly written, its characters and dramatic situations are so different from our twenty-first century lives, that the play and characters really come alive only when analyzed in conjunction with the social context in which they were originally presented. For a modern audience, Laura may be more pathetic than tragic. Mary Whipple

    4-0 out of 5 stars "The Glass Menagerie" Book Review
    This timeless play has been studies and performed around the world since 1945. Tennessee Williams', "The Glass Menagerie" has been classified as legendary for decades and will continue to appear in classrooms and theaters for decades to come. This play is still so popular today because it can still be related to today. It has effective description, realistic characters, and modern language so it is easily understood.
    This play seems ageless although it was written over a half of a century ago. There are several similarities with today's society. In the play, tom, the narrator and main character is less than satisfied with his life. He works as a shoemaker but has big dreams for himself. He complains about his job and life when he says, "Listen! You think I'm crazy about the warehouse? You think I'm in love with the Continental Shoemakers? You think I want with-fluorescent-tubes! Look! I'd rather somebody picked up a crowbar and battered out my brains-than go back mornings"(page 23). Tom wants to be a poet and experience adventure. We can all relate to this. At times we are not satisfied with life and it's good to dream a little and have goals for yourself.
    Another good aspect of this play is how realistic the characters are. The main characters Tom, Amanda, and Laura don't lead a perfect life. They all have weaknesses. Tom hates his job; Amanda has problems raising and supporting Laura and Tom; Laura has a physical disability. The family goes through real life situations and problems.
    The description and overall narration of the play is a key role in its effectiveness. The characters and plot are described so you can get a picture in your mind of the people and the apartment they lie in. The narrator being a character helped a lot with getting a visual of things. This description of the Wingfield's apartment is an example of the detailed description in the play. "The Wingfield apartment is in the rear of the building, one of those vast hive-like conglomerations of cellular living-units that flower as warty growths in overcrowded urban centers of lower middle-class population and are symptomatic of the impulse of this largest and fundamentally enslaved section of American society to avoid fluidity and differentiation and to exist and function as one interfused mass of automatism"(page 3).
    Sometimes when reading plays it can be difficult to fully grasp a good sense of the plot. However, it is not the case in "The Glass Menagerie". The plot is fully developed through the characters actions and dialogues. Also, the vivid description Tom gives is very helpful. It is easy to understand because Tom comes right out and tells you what to expect like when he tells us, "I am the narrator of the play, and also a character in it. The other characters are my mother, Amanda, my sister, Laura, and a gentleman caller who appears in the final scenes"(page 5).
    Not only is this a well written play, but also it is an easy read. It uses everyday language. It's not difficult to comprehend as it uses modern speaking and dialogues. It's a short play that will grasp you attention and be over before you know it. "The Glass Menagerie" is so popular for a reason. It's a classic play that will be studied and referenced for years to come. It's amazing how a play written so long ago is not obsolete and still relates to today's society.

    2-0 out of 5 stars The first Tennesee Williams I ever read will be the last
    Why is it that in order for a book, play, or piece of literature to be considered "Great" it has to make you feel like you just walked through an emotional meat-grinder and rolled around in broken glass for a few hours? I can easily cite several pieces that illustrate this, from the style of "yanking the rug of hope out from under you" types ("The Crucible" by Arthur Miller, "1984" by George Orwell), to stories of extremely sick, obsessive people ("Wuthering Heights", Emily Bronte), to stories that just bring out the absolute worst human traits available, and builds upon them literal skyscrapers of the bad aspects of humanity. It is in this last group that I include the "The Glass Menagerie", where it sits glumly next to Hawthorne's tepid "The Scarlett Letter" and George Eliot's equally insipid "Silas Marner".

    Now don't get me wrong...Mr. Williams has a real gift with writing, putting you practically in the story and taking off with it. I have never seen a stage production of "The Glass Menagerie" but the play itself is written in such a way that it's very easy to visualize as you read along. Pertaining to Mr. Williams style of writing, his use of the "memory play" is among the most unique tools I've ever seen in a story and he works it to great, surreal effect. The protaganist of the story is Tom, a guy stranded in a seemingly hopeless cycle of life that has him as the family's main breadwinner, working a thankless job and living his desired life of high adventure vicariously by going to the movies. His mother, the overbearing Amanda Wingfield, is a woman literally from another time who cannot seem to break out of the idea that she no longer lives in the old, antibellum South, but rather in a seedy tenement in central St. Louis. His older sister Laura is a shy and reclusive 24 year old woman who has a condition that makes one leg shorter than the other and so she's considered "crippled."

    Laura in particular is more the central focus of the story, or rather finding a man that will court and marry her is definitely the main goal of the mother, Amanda. Tom on the other hand, while sympathizing with his sister's status, really on the whole has larger dreams and just wants none of the whole thing, only to escape his lowly job at the shoe warehouse and avoid his overbearing mother. He brings home a coworker one night (after being codgered to death by good ol' Mom) which introduces the character Jim O'Connor to Laura. A surprisingly good rapport occurs between the two, and just as you think the story might have a hopeful ending it turns out ol' Jim is already engaged to the enigmatic Betty. The scene ends, Jim departs, Laura is left devastated with a half broken collection of glass animal figurines (the titular "Glass Menagerie") and Tom makes his big escape to the merchant marine by way of the fire escape, all while having deprived the whole family of electric because he spent the money to register with the service(lights go out right after dinner, what timing). Nice guy, eh?

    This is allegedly a semi-autobiographical reminiscing by Tennessee Williams on his childhood, and the end of the play has Tom remarking how his sister Laura still haunts him. And it's about the only inkling of conscience that you get out of this play. That he writes so well only leaves you feeling more robbed at the end. The whole fiasco might have gotten 2 more stars out of me had he taken Laura with him when he escaped, but with no more presence but to fish out a cigarette and head for the hills (like father, like son) I think this one will stay at 2.

    This play should be issued with a bottle of St. John's Wort. Thanks Tennessee! ... Read more


    4. Doubt: A Parable
    by John Patrick Shanley
    list price: $12.95
    our price: $10.36
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1559362766
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-26)
    Publisher: Theatre Communications Group
    Sales Rank: 1593
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
    One of the best dramas to come along in some time, Doubt offers the reader a rich experience in character, plot and theme. With short measure, Shanley brings you into the complex and rigid world of these characters, offering no let-up until the play's end. Best of all, there is not one unnecessary word.

    5-0 out of 5 stars There are some things you just know.....
    There's something about Father Flynn (Brian O'Byrne) that doesn't sit right with Sister Aloysius (Cherry Jones). The year is 1964. The shadow of the Kennedy assassination hangs in the air like a thin fog, integration has begun to spread throughout the country, and, at a Catholic grammar school in the Bronx, the traditions Aloysius relies upon are slipping away. No person represents this progression of time and society more than Flynn. He personalizes his sermons, takes three sugars in his tea, and treats the students with a familiarity that Sister Aloysius believes can only lead to disrespect. However, what makes Aloysius most uneasy about Flynn is the relationship between him and the school's first African-American student. It's a relationship she believes has gone too far. Though she has little more than her gut to go on, Aloysius, with the ambivalent assistance of a young, idealistic fellow sister, goes about a private investigation to correct the wrong she knows has occurred.
    The brilliance of Doubt (John Patrick Shanley's funny, suspenseful and finally devastating play) is its combination of Aloysius's forward drive with Flynn's compassionate intellect. Sister Aloysius could have been painted as a fire-and-brimstone kook, but Shanley allows us to see the steel rod of principle that supports Aloysius's stern demeanor and almost maddening certainty. Similarly, Father Flynn stands in for the forward-thinking, tender man of the cloth many long for in the wake of the sex scandal's of the Catholic Church. Yet there is also a subtle manipulation to Flynn's innocuous quirks that draws us in. We like Flynn while, like Aloysius, instinctively analyze his every word and action, for clues to the truth of the matter at hand.
    Clocking in at around an hour-and-a-half, Doubt is a marvel of compact, streamlined narrative. There isn't a superfluous action or misplaced word, and the characters speak with the no-nonsense cadences of individuals who actually grew up and around the streetlights and subways of the Bronx. Shanley's depth of character and comprehension of narrative is made all the more stunning by his play's brevity. He is certainly assisted by director Doug Hughes's elegant staging and two towering performances by O'Byrne and especially Jones. If one can see this play live (currently at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York), I highly recommend it. It was one of the most powerful theater-goeing experiences I've ever been privileged to attend.
    Even if you can't, however, the piercing complexity of Shanley's words are worth every cent. We never do find out the truth behind Flynn's relationship with the young boy, although there is evidence for and against that can lead a reader to induce what they like. Shanley's ultimate vision is of the elusiveness and impossibility of the truth, and the price of certainty. And all the while, he never forgets the terse mystery and fascinating character study at the play's heart. It's a tribute to Doubt's ingenious construction and peerless insight that the play's final moments are its most revealing. A lie is uncovered, a resolution is decided upon, and the battered heart of a seemingly inconquerable woman is layed bare with a revealing, haunting final line.
    In an age of theatrical uncertainty, the astonishing Doubt is beyond reproach. ... Read more


    5. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (8th Edition)
    by X. J. Kennedy, Dana Gioia
    list price: $80.20
    our price: $80.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0321087682
    Catlog: Book (2001-08-08)
    Publisher: Longman
    Sales Rank: 77647
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The most popular introduction of its kind, Literature 8/e, reflects a balance of classic works along with contemporary and non-Western authors.Writer's Perspectives sections give commentary on the craft of writing and revising from authors which provide insight and a more human perspective on literature and the writing process. Writing Critically sections expand coverage of composition with accessible and pragmatic suggestions on writing.Critical Approaches to Literature section provides three essays on every major school of criticism with sections on gender criticism and cultural studies.More than 150 photographs, author portraits, production shots of plays, and actors in performance-gives readers important perspectives.New casebooks on Flannery O'Connor and Raymond Carver, as well as two new drama casebooks: Sophocles and Shakespeare.New Stories and poems have been added. Two new plays: Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound and Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape. A New Glossary of Literary terms has been added. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Teaching Anthology
    ... First of all, it is massive and contains three books in one - fiction, poetry and drama. Each section includes a plethora of selections as well as longer works (like the full length plays of Hamlet and Macbeth). So one is really getting quite a library from this one book.

    Even better, the sections are organized along themes in order to teach the student (or interested reader) how to appreciate the various forms. So the poetry section has sections on sound, figures of speech, rhythm, closed and open form, etc. I suppose this comes from it being a textbook for undergraduate courses - in any case, it pays off. I've learned a tremendous amount already. It's all in very easy to understand non-technical language, too.

    At the end of the book, there is even a brief section on various forms of literary criticism. The book contains numerous student essays, brief author biographies, reflections by the authors on their own works (this is really great), and it reflects a really broad range of genres and time periods (unfortunately the section on haiku is plagued by bad translations, and there aren't enough examples of Chinese and other Japanese poetry... oh well!). There is also an emphasis on getting the reader to practice (and write for him or herself) what is being taught. So if you want to be a writer, this is great.

    If you're a beginner interested in getting into literature, this is really a great way to do it. Don't be put off by the massiveness of this book - it's really a resource. Just start in one small place (I started in 'poetry') and work your way around. It will definitely increase your appreciation for literature.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Decent Anthology
    The Kennedy Anthology is a decent dependable sampler. I studied from it as an undergraduate and I now use it, as a grad student, to teach introductory lit classes (supplementing it, of course, with outside material)

    I'm suprised, however, at the reviewer's comments above. Yes, Kennedy includes rock songs in the poetry section, but claims dismissing their inclusion are faulty for two reasons. 1)Rock lyrics, whether you're fond of them or not, do qualify as poetry (they are verse, after all and whether or not rock and roll lyrics stand as "good" poetry is a completely separate issue) and 2)Despite the fact that popular lyrics are included in the poetry section, the canonical giants are still well-represented (no need to fret, Whitman hasn't gone anywhere). In other words, if you dislike the rock lyrics, well, simply don't teach them.

    More importantly, in a field as diverse and (usually) liberal as literature, I'm shocked that people still complain about multiculturalism and international literature "taking away" from established great texts. Isn't this PC debate over? Haven't we all now simply accepted the fact that including diverse texts isn't a PC issue but rather an issue of good old common sense? Does anyone really still question the validity of marginalized (yet talented) voices being heard? Hasn't liberal humanism (at least in its problematic manifestations) been successfully deconstructed? Frankly, I'm frightened to think how there are English instructors out there actually arguing AGAINST diversity. Then again, I'm also incredibly naive.

    Lastly, I like lit textbooks that include examples of student essays. I employ a workshop method in my class and my students and I look at a variety of essays throughout the term--from established professionals, from students, and from me. Students are too often bombarded with "professional" examples of what they are expected to produce. Why not include examples of reasonable essays that are more or less within their rhetorical reach?

    3-0 out of 5 stars Some problems with the new (7th) edition
    Let me begin by saying that the rating I have given is not comparing Kennedy's volume to other kinds of works, but rather to the half-dozen or so popular textbooks that are similar and that anthologize many of the same works. All have particular strengths and weaknesses; they are all worthy anthologies.

    For several years, I have been using the Kennedy anthology to teach the introduction to literature class to university students. I am reasonably satisfied with the current text, although the price seems rather high. I have had some reservations about the selections in poetry because Mr. Kennedy has insisted upon calling popular songs "poetry" and implied that a few of the pop songs by Run D.M.C., Paul Simon, Bessie Smith and Clarence Williams, and the Beatles are the equivalent of real poems. Sometimes a student will become angry because I will not accept a paper on a pop song.

    This 60's kind of nonsense (like "The Poetry of Rock") should have remained in the 60's. Shamelessly, however, Mr. Kennedy and his publisher seem to pander to what is perceived as students' tastes. I note that at the back of the volume is a form soliciting students' opinions of the selections. There is no similar form for teachers.

    I am especially disturbed by this new edition because the claim to "international and multicultural coverage" has evidently meant the deletion of a great short story, Leo Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilych." I guess, in the minds of the compiler and editors, the inclusion of additional "student essays" was more important than the inclusion of a great story. (Frankly,I--and I suspect many others--could do with fewer student essays and more essays by professionals.)

    In a recent article in "The Chronicle of Higher Education" (Feb. 12, 1999), Professor James Shapiro (Columbia) laments, "When Brevity Rules the Syllabus, 'Ulysses' Is Lost." He goes on to say that because of the current demand for brevity, we can "forget about 'War and Peace'--'The Death of Ivan Ilyich' is fast becoming Tolstoy's representative work." If Kennedy's 7th edition of "Literature" is any indication, however, we can forget about Tolstoy altogether.

    Maybe some caring people could get together and demand that Tolstoy be put back. ... Read more


    6. The Crucible (Penguin Classics)
    by Arthur Miller
    list price: $11.00
    our price: $8.25
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0142437336
    Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 16528
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Based on historical people and real events, Arthur Miller's play uses the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence unleashed by the rumors of witchcraft as a powerful parable about McCarthyism.

    Introduction by Christopher Bigsby
    ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent example of American Drama
    The Crucible is Miller's most widely read piece, and perhaps his most important. At the time of its publication, The Crucible served a very important purpose that many readers today don't recognize.
    Although it serves as a somewhat accurate (there are somethings left out or modified) representation of some of the key characters in the Salem witch trials, I don't think Miller would have taken the time to write the play had it not been for the status quo of his day. The play was written in the 1950s, during a time of a constant communist scare in America. Out of the communist scare came the House of Un-American Activities Commission. HUAC often interoggated people, and black-listed celebrities based on little or no evidence. One of the key players in the HUAC interoggations was Joseph McCarthy, hence the word "McCarthyism" refers to accusing someone based on insufficient evidence.
    Miller wrote The Crucible as a response to what he though was an injustice in the 1950s. Unfortunatly, the theatre production of The Crucible became a financial flop, but The Crucible remains as a landmark of American Drama. Most American Art serves as a symbol to make a statement. The Crucible is a fine example of this tradition.
    I'm not going to give you a summary of the story, because I think other reviewers have devled into that enough. The reason I gave the play four stars is because one flaw that Aurthur Miller has in this play, indeed in many of his plays, is the lack of character development. Despite the fact that it is a riviting story, most of the characters are weightless and I don't ever tend to care about them all that much.
    The Crucible is still a fine piece of literature, however, both as for its historical significance and for its cultural message.

    3-0 out of 5 stars The Crucible; dont read the introduction.
    The subject of witchcraft has always intrigued me. Unfortunately this play did not keep my interest. The biggest reason was because the introduction, written by Christopher Bigsby, gave away the ending of the play. He said that damages were paid to John Proctor's wife Elisabeth after he was executed on August 19,1692. I know the play was for the most part historically accurate. I just didn't understand why he needed to state the anticipated ending of the play on the book on the second page of the book. The rest of the introduction was interesting. I liked how he compared the fear the people in Salem had of witches to the Red Scare. He said the only difference was that communists were real. This analogy helped me to relate the ridiculous fear these people had of withes to something tangible. The play itself was less exciting than I thought it would be. It was a little hard to follow. There were many characters and many things going on at once. I didn't like how there wasn't a single character who you felt like you could relate to. I liked how throughout the play you couldn't help but have a sense of disbelief about what was going on. I was amazed that the people of Salem so easily believed children without proof. It was unbelievable how by simply telling a judge that you saw a person with the devil they were guilty until proven innocent. I gave this play three stars because it was a good story. It wasn't the best book I have ever read, but I think it was more me than the book that was the problem. I would suggest reading the play before reading the introduction.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Impressive!
    Arthur Miller's The Crucible, a play in four acts, deals with the witch-craze in Salem in the 17th century. A minister from Salem discovers a groups of teenage girls dancing naked around a fire in the woods. As the girls are aware of the fact that they will have to face severe punishment for their action, they claim to have been possessed by evil spirits. This causes a major outcry in the Puritan community of Salem and a court is formed to deal with and investigate the accusations of the girls in further detail.
    At first, only a few people are accused of witchcraft but in the course of events over a hundred people are accused of bewitching the girls. Even people with a very good reputation who have never acted against the will of God or the community are sent to prison due to suspicion, gossip or denunciation.
    It is clear that in many cases theo girls accuse people with whom they have had some kind of problems or against whom they hold some sort of grievance. Abigail Williams accuses Elizabeth Proctor, her former employer, after having been dismissed from work by Mrs. Proctor. Abigail was the Proctors' servant but had to leave their home because Elizabeth Proctor suspected her of having an affair with her husband.
    Elizabeth Proctor is sent to prison but not hanged immediately due to the fact that she is pregnant. As John Proctor tries to come to the rescue of his wife, he himself runs into difficulties because he is suspected of undermining the court.
    Some of the accused avoid execution by "confessing" that they have a pact with the devil but 19 people are hanged. John Proctor does not want to confess a crime he has not committed. However, he changes his decision because of his wife and his three children and decides to sign a confession in order to save his life. But he immediately regrets his decision, tears up the confession and is brought to his execution.
    The Crucible is a very impressive and powerful play. It illustrates the irrationality of the people which is strongly connected with their fears and superstitious beliefs. Miller manages to show that the people really believed that what they did was right and only done to protect a community of god-fearing people.
    By reading The Crucible you can learn to understand the point of view and the world of the accusers. You begin to understand that the actions of the Puritans are very logical in their own way. You start to understand the beliefs of the accusers and even develop a kind of sympathy for them and their fears.
    On the whole, The Crucible is easy to read and can also be read in one setting. The plot is easy to follow, extremely exciting and keeps you in its grip from the fist to the last line. I believe that The Crucible is hugely recommendable for everyone who is interested in understanding the witch-craze and the point of view of the accusers as well as the accused.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Crucible: A jewel for every reader
    Arthur Miller's The Crucible, a play in four acts, deals with the witch-craze in Salem in the 17th century. A minister from Salem discovers a group of teenage girls dancing naked around a fire in the woods. As the girls are aware of the fact that they will have to face severe punishment for their action, they claim to have been possessed by evil spirits. This causes a major outcry in the Puritan community of Salem and a court is formed to deal with and investigate the accusations of the girls in further detail.
    At first, only a few people are accused of witchcraft but in the course of events over a hundred people are accused of bewitching the girls. Even people with a very good reputation who have never acted against the will of God or the community are sent to prison due to suspicion, gossip or denunciation.
    It is clear that in many cases the girls accused people with whom they have had problems or against whom they hold some kind of grievance. Abigail Williams accuses Elizabeth Proctor, her former employer, after having been dismissed from work by her. Abigail was the Proctors' servant but had to leave their house because Elizabeth Proctor suspected her of having an affair with her husband.
    Elizabeth Proctor is sent to prison but not hanged immediatley because she is pregnant. As John Proctor tries to come to the rescue of his wife, he himself runs into difficulties because he is suspecting of undermining the court.
    Some of the accused avoid execution by "confessing" their pact with the devil but 19 people are hanged. John Proctor refuses to confess a crime he has not committed. However, he changes his decision because of his wife and three children and decides to sign a confession in order to save his life. But he immediately regrets his decision, tears up the confession and is executed.
    The Crucible is a very impressive and powerful play. It illustrates the irrationality of the people which is strongly connected with their fears and superstitious beliefs. Miller manages to show that the people really believed that what they did was right and only done to protect a community of god-fearing people.
    By reading The Crucible you can learn to understand the point of view and the world of the accusers. You begin to understand that the actions of the Puritans are very logical in their own way. You start to understand the beliefs of the accusers and even develop a kind of sympathy for them and their fears.
    On the whole, The Crucible is easy to read and can also be read in one setting. The plot is easy to follow, extremely exciting and keeps you in its grip from the fist to the last line. I believe that The Crucible is hugely recommendable for everyone who is interested in understanding the witch-craze and the point of view of the accusers as well as the accused.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Moving and Brilliant Play
    The play's main narrative line tells the story of the Salem witch hunts which took place in Massachusetts, 1692. At a deeper level, Miller raises several powerful and important questions about human life and morality. But the play's most amazing quality is that it is not "deep" or "philosophical" by traditional standards. Miller has, in a short and easy-to-read manuscript, opened the door (or maybe I should say he presents the reader with a mirror) to modern political life.

    The play is essentially a crtique of McCarthyism and the the communist scare of the 1950s. Miller saw the parallels between the witch hunts and the McCarthy trials, and found the witch trials to be a compelling vehicle for discussing modern events. Key themes include:

    1. People gaining absolution from the powers-that-be by confessing the sins of others.
    2. The power of community rituals, such as confession.
    3. The role of political opposition and the consequences of compliance (passive or active).
    4. The consequences of a polarized world views and mass hysteria.

    These are just a few of the themes. The play is quite clearly a great tragedy, but remains a tragedy for our times. Through characters we can connect with, Miller convincingly shows us that the lessons from the witch hunts still apply. As a reader, I am convinced that Miller's play remains relevant and powerful in the twenty-first century. Miller has left me with questions, regarding world events in 2002 and 2003, that I did not have before reading the play.

    I read this play in only a couple hours. It is compelling, engaging, and difficult to put down. Personally, I feel this text stands a great chance of making it onto my "top ten" list of best manuscripts. I highly recommend this play. ... Read more


    7. Death of A Salesman
    by Arthur Miller
    list price: $11.00
    our price: $8.25
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0140481346
    Catlog: Book (1998-10-06)
    Publisher: Penguin USA (Paper)
    Sales Rank: 8295
    Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Arthur Miller seemed to capture the sometimes tragic plight of the common man with his Death of a Salesman. Bloom suggests the strength of the play is puzzling but beyond dispute, lying more in its presentation on stage than its written form. The play's continued vitality is unquestioned.

    The title, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, part of Chelsea House Publishers’ Modern Critical Interpretations series, presents the most important 20th-century criticism on Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman through extracts of critical essays by well-known literary critics.This collection of criticism also features a short biography on Arthur Miller, a chronology of the author’s life, and an introductory essay written by Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the Humanities, Yale University. ... Read more

    Reviews (139)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Life and Times of Willy Loman
    Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," while confusing when just read through the text alone, is an awesomely crafted play that takes drama to the next level. Now being interested in plays, I decided it was time to read this one, being that this is considered a classic by many (which I could easily see why). Reading this play makes me want to write plays. Reading something like this makes me believe that I can some up with something great too. I am glad that I finally took the time to read it.

    The story is about a broken-hearted salesman, Willy Loman. He is a man no longer living in the real world but is mostly trapped in his own delusional world. He can't let go of the past no matter how hard he tries, and it's eating him up inside. He wants to believe that his family is a shoe-in for greatness, no matter how lonely and sad his wife is, or how much of a player/swinger his youngest son is, or how confused and anti-business his oldest son is. You put all of this together and you get a glimpse of an American tragedy that is so powerful and sad that it makes you think these things happen all the time. From Page 1 you know it's not going to end on a happy note, but you decide to take the path anyways. And a path worth taking it is.

    I admit that I was confused at certain points, because through the text alone it is very hard to separate Willy's reality from his imagination. There are places where Willy departs from reality and goes back to the past and it makes it very hard for us to figure out what is going on if we're only reading it. When I saw the movie version after reading this, I was able to appreciate the play more. I understood what confused me and I was able to figure out what was happening. Despite some confusing moments it is still a tremendous play that is very involving from start to finish. You are able to sympathize with the main character, and with the rest of the characters as well. You know a writer has done the job right when you are able to feel or care for every single character (or at least almost all of them, being there will be a few minor characters you're really not supposed to care for that much. This is something that always happens in the world of fiction and is to be expected). Arthur Miller did an amazing job of writing such a realistic and emotionally driven play. The characters were realistic as well as the dialogue.

    "Death of a Salesman" is more than just simply a stunning play; it is a beautiful portrait of a family dealing with hardships and troubles. As soon as I began the play I was unable to put it down until it was finished. If you want to read a great play and are interested in great works of drama, this is the one for you.

    (Note: If you are confused by the play, see the movie afterwards. It really helps.)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Death of a Salesman
    Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman offers a tragic yet realistic view on society of the 1950's. Willy Loman's distorted outlook on life, success, and happiness is perhaps the cause of his downfall. This is truly a disheartening play, and has a bleak outlook on the life of an unnoticed, unsuccessful man searching to be great. Although this play was not one to be taken lightly I enjoyed reading about the Loman family and Willy's pursuit to become liked.
    Arthur Miller had many lessons in this play, and I believe the one lesson in Death of a Salesman that has the greatest effect on myself and other students my age deals with abandonment. The issue of abandonment and letting our pasts haunt us in the future is an important aspect in this play. Willy's abandonment started at an early age, His father left him and his brother Ben with neither tangible nor intangible heritage. Shortly after Ben left Willy for Alaska on a search for great riches. When Willy has a family of his own he has a distorted view of the American Dream and wishes for his family to conform to it. He strives to be well liked at his job, a wonderfully father to perfect sons, and to be happy, yet his inability to understand reality interferes with the boy's upbringing. Willy believes Biff to be on the verge of greatness and when at the restaurant Biff destroy Willy's view of him and with Happy abandons Willy in a bathroom.
    While some may argue that the past will mainly control your actions in the future, I on the other hand disagree. I believe you can change your future and life is what you make of it. We all go through trials and make bad decisions but that is when you must learn from your mistakes and carry one. Willy Loman through no fault of his own had a difficult childhood; it was his fault however that he took out his feelings on his family. Through this play I have been reminded that life can become a tragic waste if focused on the wrong things. Willy's goals in life were focused on the material things; he also searched to be a likeable man in his workplace. Willy was not a great man but his family loved him and in his search for greatness he became blind to their love.
    I would recommend this play, although a tragic play it reminds the reader of what is truly important in life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beyond the term "Classic"
    This play blew me away when I read it some ten years ago. And the same thing happend when I saw it on Broadway as a revival many years ago. One can only imagine the impact it had on audiences when it first came out. Truly, there has been nothing as harrowing, riveting, and emotional in the theatre since. The "idea" of the play is powerful enough, but couple this with the "American dream" theme and you've got explosive material. The intensity of this piece of theatre is hard to match. A few other great works come to mind ("Sophie's Choice by Styron or McCrae's "Bark of the Dogwood"--though those are books or movies) but even so, something about "Death" is beyond that. Why this isn't required reading in school is something I'll never understand. Arthur Miller is a national treasure and if he had written this play only, his reputation would have been confirmed forever.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The shattering of the American dream
    One of the most popular and famous plays of post-O'Neill theater, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman is the playwright's masterpiece and a true classic not only of American drama, but also of American literature as a whole. Though it came out in the late 1940's, its universal applicability has endured throughout the ensuing decades and the play still has much to tell us today. As has been noted, 20th century American drama tended to focus primarily on the family. The family presented in Death of a Salesman -- like the families in Tennessee William's The Glass Menagerie and Cat On a Hot Tin Roof -- is, in many ways, the prototypical American family, although many would not like to admit it. Salesman's dysfunctional family preceded the rosier, harmonious families that would come to dominate 50's television; it doesn't take a prophet or even a sociologist to determine which of the two is more true-to-life. In the Loman family, we can see much of ourselves and our families -- even if it is the parts that we would rather not think about and focus on. The play also deals with the capitalist system as it stood in the middle of the 20th century; most agree that, to the extent that it has changed since then, it has only been for the worse. Willy Loman, the play's main character and the prototypical Everyman, is a victim of the dog-eat-dog world of business that is a true manifestation of "survival of the fittest": good times are forgotten; nobody cares what one has done in the past: all that matters is, What have you done for me lately? The play shows how a man -- and yes, a man: the play was written in the 1940's, after all... and notice that the matriarch, despite the family's hard times, does not work -- is judged not by whom he is, not by his virtues, but simply by what he does and how much money he makes (of course, nearly 60 years later, this now extends to women as well.) It doesn't matter how good a man is, how much he loves his family, how much he cares for his children, how much he loves his wife -- if he can't make enough money to keep food on the table. A man who doesn't do that, at least in society's eyes, is a complete and total failure: nothing else matters. Willy's inability to escape from this system leads to his total and complete focus on money and work, driving his attention away from what matters most to him, his family, and ends in his tragic fate. Such a plight is, no doubt, familiar to many Americans. The right to the "pursuit of happiness" may be in the Declaration of Independence for all to read, but achieving the proverbial American Dream isn't always that easy: it's trying, it's difficult, it's hard -- and, indeed, it can be fatal. This is what the play tells us, and its truth is why the play has endured through the years and why it will continue to endure. This is a true masterpiece that deserves to be read by all.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Missed Dreams and Unrealized Hopes
    Money and materialism are strong themes in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman". One gets a real sense of this from beginning to end. In the first scenes, already the importance and pursuit of wealth and money are key in understanding what the play is about, and we see this in the frustrated dialogue exchange between the husband and the wife. The main character (the husband) is an aging door-to-door salesman named Willy Loman, who is obsessed with the American dream of financial prosperity as epitomized through his exceptionally successful big brother, Ben, but he's hounded by bills because he doesn't make enough money on commission; he says to his wife Linda: "I just ain't makin' the sales I used to." Therefore, he's forced at one point in the play to go to Howard, his employer, for a raise to get a more convenient position at the sales firm as a desk sales clerk. But Howard doesn't believe in Willy's ability to make enough money for him and refuses to give him the job, or any raise. In fact, he fires Willy on the spot. "Go home, Willy," he says, "take a vacation", in an attempt to get Willy out of his office. Willy feels humiliated and more desperate than ever. He goes straight to his friend and neighbor Charley to borrow money but refuses to take a good job offer from him because he's too proud to be dependent on Charley for his income. "Here's the 500 dollars, Willy," says Charley, to which Willy is quick to respond: "You know I'm good for it, Charley." Willy is hounded by debt and he begins to wish he had gone to Alaska with Ben as a young man and made a fortune mining for gold, but instead he settled for the life of a salesman and its hard, unrewarding occupation. Willy is full of regret and feels he has wasted his life. Throughout the play, from beginning to nearly the end, Willy is left wishing his older son, Biff, had succeeded as a football player and been accepted at a college, but he came just short of graduating and that was the beginning of the end of Willy's dream of fulfilling his own materialistic dreams through Biff. And he is constantly reminding Biff of his failure and blaming himself for it just as much. "If only you had passed your math, things would have turned out different," he says to Biff in the hotel room after he's caught by Biff in adultery. But instead, Biff, for whom Willy had such high hopes, turns out to be an even bigger failure than himself. This play is one big story of missed dreams and unrealized hopes in terms of money and the materialistic pursuit of wealth in a capitalist system.

    David Rehak
    author of "A Young Girl's Crimes" ... Read more


    8. Twelfth Night, Or, What You Will: With New and Updated Critical Essays and a Revised Bibliography (The Signet Classic Shakespeare)
    by William Shakespeare, Herschel Baker, Sylvan Barnet
    list price: $3.95
    our price: $3.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0451526767
    Catlog: Book (1998-04-01)
    Publisher: Signet Book
    Sales Rank: 39165
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Using the complete, unabridged New Cambridge Shakespeare edition text of the play, this recording of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (available on cassette or CD) uses a full professional cast, sound effects and accompanying music. The set is accompanied by notes and a play synopsis. Starring Stella Gonet as Viola, with Christopher Godwin as Malvolio, Lucy Whybrow as Olivia, Jane Whittenshaw as Maria, Benjamin Soames as Sebastian and Adam Kotz as Antonio. ... Read more

    Reviews (18)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Definitely one of my favorites!
    I didn't read this particular version of Twelfth Night, so I'm rating the plot, not the editing. This book was the first play by Shakespeare that I read, and I loved it! It starts when Viola and her brother, Sebastian, are seperated in a shipwreck. Viola decides to disguise herself as a boy and work for Orsino, the duke. Orsino sends Viola to tell Olivia that he loves her. Viola does what he says, but she wishes she didn't have to, because she has fallen in love with Orsino! Then Olivia falls in love with Viola, thinking that she is a boy. While all this is going on, Andrew Aguecheek is wooing Olivia, who scorns him. Also, Maria, the maid, Sir Toby Belch, Olivia's uncle, and another servant write a letter and put it where Malvolio, a servant, will see it. The letter says that Olivia is in love with Malvolio. Malvolio immediately starts trying to woo Olivia. Maria and Sir Toby pretend to think that he's mad, and lock him up. Meanwhile, Sebastian comes to town with Antonio, the man who saved him from the shipwreck. Antonio gives him his purse and says that he must stay away from the city because he fought against the duke in a war. A few minutes later, Antonio realizes that he needs money for lodgings and goes to find Sebastian. In the city, Viola is being forced to fight Andrew Aguecheek for the right to marry Olivia. Antonio sees the fight and hurries to intervene. Orsino recognizes him and has him arrested. Antonio asks Viola for his purse so that he can pay bail, thinking that she is Sebastian. Viola denies having had a purse. Then Sebastian comes up. Olivia had found him and married him on the spot, and he, deliriously happy, had gone away to give Antonio his purse. On the way, he met Sir Toby and Andrew Aguecheek. When they try to force him to fight, he punches them and goes on. They come up too, bitterly accusing Viola. (No one has seen Sebastian yet.) Then Olivia comes up and speaks to Viola, who denies being her wife. Orsino becomes angry with her, thinking that she has married Olivia, and accuses her of treachery. Just as things are looking bad for Viola, Sebastian reveals himself. Then everyone is happy (since Orsino falls in love with Viola on the spot) except Andrew Aguecheek and Malvolio, who is later set free. The plot of this book is a little hard to understand, but it is halariously funny and makes for happy reading.

    4-0 out of 5 stars I would give it five stars, but. . .
    . . . to really achieve its full potential, this play needs to be acted out on stage. Still, highly excellent, involving twins, cross-dressing, love tangles, sword-fighting, secret marriages, music, disguises, mistaken identities, high speech, and lowbrow humour.

    The entire play takes place in Illyria. In the main plot, Orsino is in love with Olivia, who unfortunately does not return his feelings. Viola is shipwrecked on the Illyrian coast, and dressed as a boy, comes to serve in Orsino's court, where she of course falls in love with Orsino. Meanwhile, in Olivia's court, some of her courtiers plan a cruel--but funny--practical joke against her pompous steward Malvolio. There is also a third plot later on involving Viola's twin brother Sebastian, who has been shipwrecked likewise. Naturally things get quite confusing, but, true to Shakespeare's comedic style, everything gets worked out in the end.

    This is an enjoyable book to read, and the notes are very helpful. However, it is still better as a performance.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A mid-range Shakespearean comedy.
    There is very little here to set this play apart from the rest of Shakespeare's comedies, other than, perhaps, the fact that it has more of the usual comedic plot devices than usual. There is the cross-dressing woman who is fallen in love with by another woman, there are the twins separated, there are the usual litany of star-crossed lovers each in love with someone who doesn't requite their love (until, of course, the end; this being a comedy, everything must come out all right in the end.) All told, about the only memorable line from this play is "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them."

    A perfectly amusing bit of Shakespearean fluff, but there is little to recommend this play that wouldn't likewise recommend almost any of Shakespeare's comedies.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Cross-dressers, Pranks, and Violence-who needs more?
    This is, by far, one of my most favorite Shakespeare plays. It's hilarious-probably the funniest I've read. Shakespeare has the nuttiest characters, such as Sir Toby and Sir Andrew Aguecheek, who likes to drink and be silly more than anything else. Then there's Maria, the conniving servant, who fools Malvolio (the pompous servant) into thinking Olivia (the rich chick) is in love with him, and, of course, he makes a fool out of himself. On top of all that, there's Viola, a girl pretending to be a guy named Cesario, and Olivia falls in love with her/him. It's a hoot. The whole thing. Until my Shakespeare class, I had never even heard of this book, which is a surprise because it's so much better and so much more captivating than some of his other plays. A must read!!!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Romantic Comedy "Twelfth Night"
    "Twelfth Night" is one of the famous romantic comedy written by William Shakespeare. Many critics said, "Twelfth Night" is the masterpiece among his comedy because his fully developed style and insight are in the "Twelfth Night", so it has special value and attractiveness.
    There are four main characters in "Twelfth Night" ; Duke Orsino, Olivia, Viola, and
    Sebastian. Duke Orsino who lives in Illyria loves Olivia, so every day he send one of
    his servant to Olivia's house for proposal of marriage. However, every time Olivia
    refuses his proposal for the reason that she lost her brother before long, so she is now
    in big sorrow and can not love anyone. One day, Viola comes into Illyria. She and her
    twin brother Sebastian are separated in a shipwreck and they are rescued by two
    different people in two different place, so they think the other one is dead each other.
    Viola disguise as a man and become a servant of Duke Orsino, and then she fall in
    love with Duke Orsino. But, Duke Orsino loves Olivia and he send Viola whose new
    name as a man is "Cesario" to Olivia for proposal. Unexpectedly, Olivia fall in love with
    Cesario!! Therefore, love triangle is formed. In the latter scene, Sebastian also come into
    Illyria, so the confusion getting worse. However, in the end, all misunderstandings are
    solved and Cesario become Viola, so the four main characters find their love.
    There are also four supporting characters in "Twelfth Night" ; Clown, Sir Toby Belch,
    Malvolio, and Sir Andrew Aguecheek. They make the readers laugh through their funny
    behaviors and comments in subplot.
    "Twelfth Night" is very funny story and enjoyable book, so I recommend you. ... Read more


    9. Hamlet (Folger Shakespeare Library)
    by William Shakespeare
    list price: $4.99
    our price: $4.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 074347712X
    Catlog: Book (2003-07-01)
    Publisher: Washington Square Press
    Sales Rank: 7207
    Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars hamlet (twilight zone the movie) is a good book
    hamlet (by which I mean twilight zone the movie) is a pretty good book. How do I know? Because I read some of it. It is the story of a really racist guy. He is really racist. Man is he rascist. Then he learns a lesson. Classic drama. I think shakespeare wrote it. Or some other guy maybe. Read it stoned too, that will totally help your whole...perception.

    5-0 out of 5 stars To be or not to be? That is the question!
    I am currently reading Hamlet.Even though it is difficlt reading
    and most of the words and terminology are old English I found it to be a very deep read. The play deals with Prince Hamlet and his quest to gain revenge against his uncle Claudius who has murdered his father king Hamlet, seized the throne of Denmark and married his mother Queen Gertrude. The play deals with death, suicide, incest, and conspiricies. After this I plan on reading more of Shakespeare even though the terminology is slow reading.I recommend to people who hate reading Shakespeare to go out and get some cliffsnotes or sparknotes. That way you can read the summaries in the notes in layman's terms and compare it with the original text. This way you won't get lost and you'll know whats going on.

    3-0 out of 5 stars I liked the movie better
    When I started reading hamlet, I'll be completely honest, I thought it stunk! I never really enjoyed reading Shakespeare anyway, but with word usage aside, it wasn't' too shabby. Although I really didn't understand what was going on, my AP English teacher did a swell job of explaining it to me, and once I got the jist of what was going on (along with a few jokes) it was entertaining. I also enjoyed watching it being performed onstage. Overall, I think it was meant to be performed, and not read.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Hamlet wasn't as bad as I thought
    After just finishing Hamlet, I realized that it wasn't as bad as I initially thought it would be. Shakespeare uses a unique blend of humor and tragedy to make for an interesting story. While I don't really like the old fashioned language, the book is fairly easy to comprehend and makes for a good read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare's Best
    I don't fully understand (and don't want to) the many messages that overanalytical critics contend lay beneath the text of "Hamlet", but I will say that I never fail to get goosebumps upon reading one of the drama's majestic soliloquies. Better poetry has never been written in all of literature. ... Read more


    10. A Raisin in the Sun
    by LORRAINE HANSBERRY
    list price: $5.95
    our price: $5.36
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679755330
    Catlog: Book (1994-11-29)
    Publisher: Vintage
    Average Customer Review: 4.15 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    When it was first produced in 1959, A Raisin in the Sun was awarded the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for that season and hailed as a watershed in American drama. A pioneering work by an African-American playwright, the play was a radically new representation of black life. "A play that changed American theater forever."--The New York Times. ... Read more

    Reviews (116)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Raisin in the Sun
    A Raisin in the Sun, written by Lorraine Hansberry ,is by far one of the best books have read yet. The setting is in the mid-1900's in the Southside of Chicago. The main focus of this book occurs around a poor black family in a poor black community, the Younger's. Hansberry does a great job of using dialect to make the scenes quite realistic and uses quite a bit of symbolism, irony, motifs, and situations that involve making decisions where you become stuck between a rock and a hard place. The book starts off with Walter Younger's obsession with his mother's insurance check so he can become a true entrepeneur and invest in his own liquor store. Since religion played a vital role in Mama's reaction to this sinful act it really damaged Walter's hopes and dreams. Later in the book Mama finally decides to give Walter the money and leaves him with the responsibility of taking care of the family, this is where the rising action begins. Then the climax hits when Walter finds out that the money he gave to his partner is gone. This leaves Walter and the rest of the family in a sudden feeling of disillusionment. Then as things cool down Walter and the rest of the family decide to go ahead and move into the all white neighborhood. The rest of the story is jam packed with racial, religious, economic, and even feministical motifs that aid in the release of all the true tensions in the novel, between characters, which Hansberry purposely relates to the reality of the way society really is. Her purpose for writing this book was to show the way society worked and to make it apparent how hard life was for a poor black family. Overall I really enjoyed this book. It had alot of realistic elements , enough to make the reader stay interested and more. The plot is dramatic and ends ironically. I gave this book 4 stars because it had all the elements of a good book it just did not have the ending I was expecting. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a easy reading book that contains alot of real life situations and the struggle of a poor black family just trying to "move on up", just like the Jefferson's just without all the funny jokes.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A Rasin in the Sun
    The book "A Rasin in the Sun" deals with a lot of conflicts including money, racism, love, and trust. The story is about the Youngers, a black family living on the South Side of Chicago. It details the family's different views on what should be done with the ten thousand dollar check. The character Mama wants to buy a house. Her son Walter Lee wants to open a liquor store, and the daughter Beneatha wants to finish her schooling. In each scene, a character is faced with a different decision. The story is written as a play. I personally thought "A Rasin in the Sun" was on okay book, and I would tell anybody who loves to read plays to read this story.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pure Genius
    This is truly a work of genius about a family in which each member has his/her own big dream of what he/she wants to do with his/her life. However, each of their dreams requires money, which this family is very short on. The way they deal with this is what makes this story so vital. This play is a definate must-have for your collection.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good play about the lives of an African American family
    The play A Raisin in the Sun takes its title from a line from the classic poem by Langston Hughes that I is called "A Dream Deferred." Appropriately enough, the play focuses on the deferred dreams of the Younger family, an African American family living in Chicago sometime after World War II. The family consists of Mama, Walter Lee Younger, his wife Ruth, his son Travis, and his sister Berneath. The whole family lives together in a small apartment. It is long been Mama dream to move into a house and she could finally make this a reality with the aid of insurance money from her deceased husband's policy. Walter Lee, however, wants to use the money to open up a liquor store because he is tired of working as an unrespected chauffer. Berneath--a college student--dreams of becoming a doctor and believes that some of the money should go to her schooling. Thus, although each family member believes that the money will fullfill their dreams, it actually just causes more conflicts. The ultimate theme of the play is that money itself cannot make your dreams come true. Dreams must be worked on in order for them to come true. Eventhough some dreams may never be realized, they never truely "die." Instead, they allows remain in the back of your mind ever if they will never actually be realized.

    I found this play an enjoyable and quick read. To me, it was more appealing than plays of August Wilson, who wrote plays of a similar theme (Fences, The Piano Lesson). One good thing about the play is that although the Youngers are a black family, the theme of the play seems appealing to any audience since many families have had money problems and even more families have had dreams about life that they have struggled to fulfill.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Nice for society to reflect...
    This play helps to remind all people where we came from and gives us more reason to appreciate where we are. Beautifully written, and heartfelt. I love the independence and strength of the female characters, especially Mama. I applaud Beneatha's need for more, and Ruth's strength to deal with her husband and any misfortune that is thrown her way. Truly a movable classic. I loved it! ... Read more


    11. Longman Anthology of Drama and Theater, The: A Global Perspective
    by Michael L. Greenwald, Roger Schultz, Robert Dario Pomo
    list price: $90.80
    our price: $90.80
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0321015592
    Catlog: Book (2000-08-15)
    Publisher: Longman
    Sales Rank: 526972
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The Longman Anthology of Drama and Theatre is a fully-integrated text/anthology of drama with a global emphasis. Divided into two parts: Part One covers the origins of drama: genres, conventions, styles and descriptions of roles; and Part Two is a six chapter anthology of plays, including plays from around the world with a solid core of western plays. Each chapter in Part Two includes visuals, maps, timelines, biographical and contextual headnotes, and an overview of the history and conventions of each period that help readers gain a better understanding of the drama and theater being presented. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Important, Useful Anthology
    I'm very pleased with this anthology partly because of its international scope, but also because it provides useful theoretical documents that augment and support the plays the authors have chosen. The introductions to each period and country are detailed, interesting, and easy to read.

    The students in my undergraduate theatre history course have almost unanimously agreed to keep this text as part of their permanent collection--a rare reaction indeed! The choice of plays was excellent, combining some wonderful translations of important Western European texts with interesting, hard-to-find world theatre classics.

    I highly recommend it as a teaching resource--particularly for theatre history, world drama, and intro to theatre courses. Your students will thank you (and they'll keep this one!).

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Milestone in Drama Anthologies
    American theatre has been slower than any of the other arts to recognize the need to pay attention to what's going on outside the United States and Europe. Most introductory theatre texts make only passing mention of the theatres of Asia, Africa and South America. Anthologies of drama published in the States have likewise generally failed to address the dramatic literature of these regions. Consequently, most Americans, including theatre students, are woefully ignorant of the rich theatrical traditions of two thirds of the world's people.

    In the context of this vast blindness, the Longman Anthology of World Drama is a milestone work. It includes both traditional and modern plays from China, India and Japan (integrated into the historical sequence rather than tagged on as appendices.) It treats of African theatre in connection with African-American diaspora theatre. It represents Latin and South American theatre with interesting works from the 16th century to modern Hispanic absurdism. On top of this remarkable diversity, it provides a very solid foundation in the traditional Western canon, with a particularly good sequence tracing the rise of modern realism out of romanticism.

    There is an enormous amount of material in this tome, and much to commend. The only serious shortcomings are a sparseness and lack of clarity in the historical background articles (these will confuse students with no framework to build on), and some poor choices in excerpts of supporting criticism (the Victor Turner article will go completely over the heads of the uninitiated, and the excerpt by Zeami is a dull genealogy of the ritual roots of Noh theatre rather than any of the more interesting bits on the art of the performer.) ... Read more


    12. Four Major Plays: A Doll House, the Wild Duck, Hedda Gabler, the Master Builder (Signet Classics (Paperback))
    by Henrik Ibsen
    list price: $6.95
    our price: $6.26
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0451524063
    Catlog: Book (1989-09-01)
    Publisher: Signet Book
    Sales Rank: 51723
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Engrossing!
    Ibsen is one of the most important playwrights to ever grace this earth, and it is not difficult to see why after reading this collection of plays. "The Doll House" is immediately fascinating, perhaps the easiest to understand out of this group of plays. It teaches the lesson that one must learn to stand on one's own, to carry out the cliché -- "to find oneself" -- but the lesson is not learned by the main character until the stage has been skillfully set in order to make the ending all the more compelling. The strongest play is perhaps "Hedda Gabler," whose upper class heroine, Hedda, is one of the most abstract and intriguing female characters ever written for a play. Devious and suffocating in her new middle class surroundings after marrying a rather dull man, her frustrations play out and alienate the other characters. The other characters are not merely accessories; they ARE the play when one juxtaposes them with Hedda. "The Wild Duck" is not as strong a play, and the dullest of the group, but is also worth a read. Overall, the collection is a quick and engrossing read.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Hedda Gabler
    Hedda gabler is a tale of a woman in the victorian ages. She was recently married to a man who considered writing a book "The Brabant in the middle ages" an exiting topic. She is torn between the role she must portray and the role she wants. The play shows the fall from grace and the decline of Hedda Gablers power. It is a powerful play and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Anyone who read the play and wants to help me with a staging essay. amieDicaprio@yahoo.com ... Read more


    13. Literature : An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, Compact Edition (4th Edition)
    by X. J. Kennedy, Dana Gioia
    list price: $61.00
    our price: $61.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0321245504
    Catlog: Book (2004-03-10)
    Publisher: Pearson Education
    Sales Rank: 20665
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    Book Description

    Literature, Compact 4/e, the concise edition of the most popular introduction of its kind, is organized into three genres—Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. As in past editions, the authors' collective poetic voice brings personal warmth and a human perspective to the discussion of literature, adding to students' interest in the readings.An introduction to a balance of contemporary and classic stories, poems, and plays. Casebooks offer in-depth look at an author or clusters of works, for example “Latin American Poetry.” Authors Joe Kennedy and Dana Gioia provide inviting and illuminating introductions to the authors included and to the elements of literature. Coverage of writing about literature is also included.For those interested in literature. ... Read more


    14. LA Casa De Bernarda Alba
    by Federico Garcia Lorca
    list price: $8.55
    our price: $8.55
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 9505811055
    Catlog: Book (1993-06-01)
    Publisher: Ediciones Colihue
    Sales Rank: 52213
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    La última obra de teatro que Lorca dejo terminada, pero no llegaría a verla representada. ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars POWERFUL, ROMANTIC....
    This is an incredible play, and it is hard to imagine that it was written so long ago, for it has an everlasting effect... It deals with culture, bitterness, love, loss, tragedy and family.

    It is above all a book about the great expectations a young girl has with life, and how her mother and sisters destroy them. It is a sad tale, but it is written in such a powerful way that you simply cannot put the book down without finishing it.

    Es un libro conmovedor que hable de la cultura, la familia, la tragedia, la separacion y el amor...
    Los personajes son muy reales, crudos y a veces muy crueles.
    Habla sobre una joven y sus suenos, asi como las consecuencias de sonar y de querer lograr mas de lo que se esperado.
    Es una historia triste y tragica pero escrita y manejada de una manera incomparable por un escritor brillante.

    5-0 out of 5 stars muy interesanta para los estudiantes de espaniol
    i have read this play 3 times in classes for spanish language literature, and i just can't get enough. it is tough at times, vocabulary and such, BUT well worth it! tugs at the heartstrings and takes a good look at the way women were treated and considered in those times. buena suerte y si alguien quiere platicar conmigo de esta obra, mandame un email a tcherepashka@aol.com!

    3-0 out of 5 stars the strougle for traditions
    this book is about a family all women who live in spain , and who fight family traditions, genertions, and woamns rights.

    5-0 out of 5 stars excellent
    this was one of the best plays I ever read. I think it's really deep and intense, and it's excellently written

    5-0 out of 5 stars A sad tale of of a young girl, her mother and her sisters.
    Fredrico Garcia Lorca, not only understands human nature but he was able to place his poetic prose on paper.

    Humans can only indure so much, especially when you are a young girl with a love for life, in love and desperate for color in the bleak eight years of mourning. Only the saddest things can only happen when you are the youngest daughter of a bitter, spiteful mother and the youngest sister of old maid sisters, who must be married before you can ever be.

    This drama provides a look at life after death in turn of the century Spain. Lorca portrays life realistically, it can also be said that this drama is how Lorca himself viewed his life and love through the symbolisms of the customs in turn of the century Spain.

    I would recommend this drama to everyone, not only for it's beautiful prose but for a closer look at human nature when all that is loved is lost. It is the _Romeo and Juliet_ of Classic Spanish Drama. JMS ... Read more


    15. Macbeth (Cambridge School Shakespeare)
    by William Shakespeare
    list price: $10.00
    our price: $7.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0521426219
    Catlog: Book (1993-04-08)
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Sales Rank: 380781
    Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A new look at Shakespeare's play in accordance with the work of the Shakespeare and Schools Project, the National Curriculum for English, developments at GCSE and A-level, and the probable development of English and Drama throughout the 1990s. Cambridge School Shakespeare considers the play as theatre and the text as script, enabling pupils to inhabit the imaginative world of the play in an accessible, meaningful and creative way. Cambridge School Shakespeare approaches the plays in a new way, encouraging students to participate actively in examining them, to work in groups as well as individually, to treat each play as a script to be re-created, and to explore the theatrical/dramatic qualities of the text. The editorial comments cater for pupils of all ages and abilities, providing clear, helpful guidelines for school study. The format of the plays is also designed to help all teachers, whether experienced or inexperienced.NB This replaces the information previously issued. ... Read more

    Reviews (87)

    5-0 out of 5 stars best edition of Shakespeare's Macbeth
    "Macbeth" is one of Shakespeare's most powerful plays. Without doubt, audiences always remain guessing as they read the powerful speeches of Macbeth and his wife, who change dramatically during the story. The plot is not Shakespeare's most clever or most genius, but beautiful nonetheless!! And the best part is, thru this play, Shakespeare shows us that people are good at heart, even if corrupted within their lives.

    Which version of "Macbeth" to buy? Definitely this one. The right pages provide the original play, while the left page provides definitions for old or hard vocabulary. There are also plot summaries before each scene. In addition to page numbers, each page also indicates act and scene, making the search for certain passages extremely easy. The lines are, of course, numbered, for easy reference (if you're reading this as a school assignment.) And of course, the stage directions are included too. A very helpful edition of Shakespeare's work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful, beyond words, lives forever in your mind
    This play is great! I've always liked Shakespearean comedy and tragic romance, and I didn't want to read this play at first, but when I did--it got me.

    For those who want to read a play full of word play, appearance and reality in the world and for you, irony and Christian innuendoes, Macbeth is for you. The word play, especially the surprising comparison of murder with "Tarquin's ravishing", and the really effective ones like ambition with drunkeness, will make you read it again and again. There is a haunting soliloquy in Act 5 that Macbeth gives about life--it's famous and most would have heard of it, but nothing beats reading it together with the play.

    Behind every successful man there is a woman, and behind every tragic hero there should be a tragic heroine. Lady Macbeth will repulse you and gain your pity. Don't despise her, folks, she just squashed her femininity thinking it was the best thing to do. She wouldn't have to ask evil forces to take away her human compassion if she didn't have any to begin with.

    A must-read, and must-savour.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thoughts on Macbeth
    Macbeth is the story of a general in the army of King Duncan of Scotland, who is approached by three witches, who plant the seeds of ruthless ambition in his mind, by predicting that he will be made King of Scotland.
    He invites King Duncan to his castle, where encouraged by his, wife, he murders him.
    He manipulates events to become King, and embarks on a reign of bloody tyranny, having all killed who stand in his way, or who he suspects may do so.

    Macbeth is the story of tyranny and ambition. It is also the story of inner struggles and of Macbeth's own diseased imagination.

    The primary villains of the play are the three witches. They do not simply predict, but indeed their soul aim is to sow evil and destruction wherever they can: " Fair is foul and foul is fair. Hover through the fog and filthy air."
    Their motto seems to be an apt encapsulation of the dominant 21st century worldview. Indeed Orwell and Kafka where to predict a similar world where truth would be lies and lies would be truth, good would be evil and evil would be good, war would be peace and peace would be war. This twisted view of the witches is the worldview of Bolshevism and leftism today, where terrorists and dictators are lauded as 'revolutionary heroes' and those who defend against the former are vilified and reviled.

    The three witches of today are academia, the media and the United Nations.

    Lady Macbeth is but a pale shadow of the witches. She encourages her husband in his evil, but is destroyed by her own guilt.
    She needs to call on the evil spirits to 'unsex' her and fill her with the direst cruelty, but at the end 'all the perfumes of Arabia' cannot wash away the guilt of her deeds.
    The plea to be unsexed is relevant to the sexlesness of the cruel Bolshevik women of the last century and of women terrorists and women leftwing academics. These are generally sexless and totally cruel in pursuing revolution and the destruction of Judeo-Christian civilization.

    Lady Macbeth was outwardly beautiful but most of these unsexed women of the revolution have not. Unlike Lady Macbeth they have achieved the being of the three witches for whom they resemble.

    The play is indeed full of rich irony- how Macbeth persuades the three murderers that Banquo is responsible for their misfortunes, twisting the truth to suit his unholy ends as the media so often does today.

    Macbeth is brought to justice for his deeds. His arrogance is his downfall.

    The benevolent influence though, in this story is the doctor of physic - the voice of compassion and religion who says while attempting to heal Lady Macbeth- "More she needs the divine than the physician-G-D, G-D forgive us all"

    5-0 out of 5 stars A very useful edition of a great play
    Macbeth has always been one of Shakespeare's most popular plays. It is vivid, has blood & murder, magic, visions, treachery, and just deserts. I mean, what is not to love? The play moves along quickly and isn't one of the longer plays. For all these reasons and more, audiences love it.

    But there is a lot more to the play than the plot outline might suggest. Shakespeare brilliantly works out the subtleties of character through the action, interactions, and self-discussions in the play. It isn't a simple "action" play, it is also a masterwork of revealing the character of the characters even when they are themselves unaware of the trap they are leaping into.

    I am partial to the Arden editions because I trust the text, love the extensive notes, and the introductory and additional material that helps give the play context and talks about sources Shakespeare almost certainly used. In this case Holinshed's "Chronicles of Scotland". Throughout this edition there are also discussions of the textural problems of this play: where some things seem to be missing, what might be interpolations, and so forth.

    This is a very useful edition of a great play.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Shakespeare play out there
    Suspense, great characters, terrific plot, historical importance. Just a terrific piece of literature. ... Read more


    16. A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare Made Easy)
    by William Shakespeare, Alan Durband
    list price: $6.95
    our price: $6.26
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0812035844
    Catlog: Book (1985-02-01)
    Publisher: Barron's Educational Series
    Sales Rank: 62692
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Volumes in this recently developed series for middle school and high school students analyze major literary works in terms that help students understand them for higher grades on tests and written reports. More than mere plot summaries, Literature Made Easy books describe classic novels and plays by explaining themes, analyzing characters, and discussing each author's unique style, mastery of language, and point of view. Imaginative and instructive use of graphics help make each book in this series livlier, easier, and more profitable to use than ordinary plot summaries. Books also feature "Mind Maps" - diagrams that summarize a literary work's most important details, as a way of helping students focus their ideas for exams and term papers. ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Translation that Makes Shakespeare More Accessable
    I purchased many titles in the "Shakespeare Made Easy" series. It has a modern English translation side by side with the original text. It helped tremendously when it came to school assignments.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Midsummer Night's Dream
    A Midsummer Night's Dream is certainly one of the most popular Shakespearean plays. Few other dramas display such a combination of theatrical appeal: comedy and dance, music and fairies, rustics and the moonlit woods. This unit examines the enchanting play and its theme of love and love's folly. A Midsummer Night's Dream contains some wonderfully lyrical expressions of lighter Shakespearean themes, most notably those of love, dreams, and the stuff of both, the creative imagination itself.
    I believe that Shakespeare wrote A Midsummer Night's Dream as a light entertainment to accompany a marriage celebration.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fun and Frivolous
    On the first read, I thought this was really silly stuff, but on the second read I thought it had some of Shakespheare's best romantic poetry in it.

    This story contains yet another authoritarian father of Shakespheare's creation, Egeus, telling his daughter Hermia who she will marry (Demetrius) and not marry (Lysander). There is also her sister Helena who is in love with Demetrius, but Demetrius does not love her. Enter the fairies, mainly Oberon and his servant Puck who muck things up further by enchanting Lysander and Demetrius into falling in love with Helena instead of their previous darling girl Hermia. Tension ensues as Helena thinks that she is being mocked and Hermia thinks that Helena has stolen away her men. Puck and the fairies eventually right things by enchanting Demetrius to match up with Hermia and Lysander with Helena.

    There is a subplot with working class rustics who try to put on a play of Pyramus and Thisbe, two lovers that die tragically. (Imagine construction workers putting on a romantic play, for modern day comparison.) The leader Snug and his company of Bottom, Quince, Flute, Snout, and Starveling prepare a play at night in the woods and the mischievous fairy Puck attaches a donkey's posterior to Bottom's head and makes the queen fairy Titania fall in love with him and his fine feature. Eventually, Puck reverses this predicament before the night is over.

    Bottom and company put on the play in the last act for the nobles of city who are Theseus, Duke of Athens, and his company of the soon to be married nobles Demetrius and Hermia and Lysander and Helena, among others. The play is so bad it's comical. The usual tragic romantic deaths in plays like Romeo and Juliet are parodied in this act. In fact, this play seems to be what Romeo and Juliet would have been if it were turned into a comedy.

    As with most Shakespheare's plays this is better seen than read. The love rectangle is confusing at first given the similar names of Helena and Hermia and the switching match-ups. Not much mentally to chew on here, other than the observation that one can often love someone, but they don't love you back and it's frustrating.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A light and enjoyable introduction to Shakespear
    As a new Shakespeare reader, I can not compare it with his other plays, but I can say that A mid Summer night's dream is a light and enjoyable play. The characters are interesting, the setting is wonderful and the telling of the story is very visual. The aspect of the fairy world was particularly nice as well as the every so often witty lines. By using Shakespeare made easy, I was able to "translate" Shakespeare's language into plain English. By doing so I was able to better understand and get more of a feel of the play on the long run. I will use the "made easy" books again in my further Shakespeare readings I enjoyed them very much.

    3-0 out of 5 stars I Felt Like Dreaming While I Was Reading This Book
    I've read all of the Shakespeare Made Easy titles but I didn't like A Midsummer Night's Dream. While it is full of magic and romace, I thought it was pretty boring, overlong, and kind of confusing. I like Shakespeare's other stuff a lot better. ... Read more


    17. Complete Poems and Plays,: 1909-1950
    by T. S. Eliot
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $22.05
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 015121185X
    Catlog: Book (1952-11-20)
    Publisher: Harcourt
    Sales Rank: 22365
    Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Eliot's poetry ranges from the massively magisterial( The Waste Land), to the playfully pleasant (Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats). This volume of Eliot's poetry and plays offers the complete text of these and most all of Eliot's poetry,including the full text of Four Quartets. Winner of theNobel Prize in Literature, Eliot exerted a profound influence on his contemporaries in the arts generally and this collection makes his genius clear. ... Read more

    Reviews (10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Eliot at his best
    A wonderful collection of most of T.S. Eliot's poetry, including The Wasteland, The Hollow Men and Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Has extensive notes by the author. A must for all Eliot fans.

    4-0 out of 5 stars 3-star collection of a 10-star poet's work
    T. S. Eliot was arguably the greatest poet of the 20th century, but this collection is far from ideal. Alert readers will have already noticed the ominous qualifier "1909-1950" in the title; this book does *not* include the last two plays ("The Confidential Clerk" and "The Elder Statesman"), the last Ariel poem ("The Cultivation of Christmas Trees"), or the handful of Occasional Verses included in "Collected Poems 1909-1962." In addition, the typography in this volume is claustrophobic in the early poems. TSE's style is concentrated and intense, and virtually every collection of his work has the sense to begin each poem on a new page. This book, unfortunately, is the exception: it crams the poems together like classified ads.

    The One True Eliot Collection was never published in the United States: "The Complete Poems and Plays of T. S. Eliot" (Faber and Faber, 1969 and later reprintings). It's worth looking on for a used copy since this book contains virtually all the published poems, all five plays, and even "Poems Published in Early Youth." In the meantime, U.S. readers are better off skipping the 1909-1950 volume. Get "Collected Poems 1909-1962" and buy the plays separately -- along with Old Possum's Book of You-Know-Whats, if you insist.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I have heard the mermaids singing...
    An excellent collection of the vast majority of his published works.

    While Eliot lived into the sixties, there is an inevitable temptation to concentrate on his earlier classic works such as The Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock, which yielded the above line, The Waste Land and The Hollow Men above all.

    A lot of Eliot's perspectives involve psychological impotence, and a majestic failure to act, and be a part of events, of the World, the Life, if you like; such as in the lines "I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing for me."

    Here, he writes about isolation and alienation, with accompanying non-participation. The impotent voyeur, as in Joyce's Ulysses, based on the classical myth. Joyce's Sirens are Lydia and Mina, the 'sexy barmaids' at the Ormond Hotel. Bloom can hear their siren song from the next bar, as they lure the male clientele to part with their cash, but he is separate from events; reflecting cyborg-like on their music which he terms 'musemathematics'.

    While The Waste Land and The Hollow Men in particular were clearly written during a time of deep spiritual crisis, Eliot did transcend this period and they are not really representative of his later life philosophy.

    One stanza from T S Eliot's The Hollow Men, became the source of Nevil Shute's book title On The Beach - this being his 1957 post-apocalyptic novel which later appeared as the 1963 Gregory Peck movie of the same name, about the last doomed survivors of a nuclear holocaust.

    In this last of meeting places
    We grope together
    And avoid speech
    Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

    The J G Ballardesque inner landscape that Eliot creates, of decaying cities and civilizations and the encroaching spiritual desert, 'sunlight on a broken column', the final phase of extreme Entropy, the suppression of the Eternal Feminine, is just all part of the ultimate fear of nothingness or perhaps meaninglessness that has gnawed away at the human psyche for eons.

    Just as Ballard's ancient nuclear test site in The Terminal Beach, replete with its decrepit bunkers and blockhouses, is 'a fossil of Time Future', so too is Eliot's Waste Land a metaphor for the human inability to perceive Time and to merge with the flow of the Universe.

    A genius? Absolutely no question about it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars the 3 modern greats: Dante, Shakespeare, Eliot
    This authoritative volume of his poetry & plays is essential to every poetry collection. The first poem in his first published book, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, was astonishing to its first audiences & is now known as one of the greatest 20th century poems ever. Read any book of essays that includes 20th century poetry; that poem is talked about in it. But I don't mean to be reviewing as though T. S. Eliot was a man of one poem; he was a writer of such severe genius throughout his career that poetry since him has all been in his shadow. Within 10 years of his career, he had had a profounder influence on poetry as we know it than anybody else. Writer of incredibly dense poems, one might argue that with his wild & totally new ideas about he was the godfather of language poetry, but he was also had a fierce love for tradition, in his self-exile from the U.S. to England.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Prometheus of modern poetry
    I became familiar with Eliot's work chronologically, learning something new at each step. "Prufrock" introduced me to modern poetical structure, "The Waste Land" showed me how literary allusion can enrich verse, "Ash-Wednesday" refreshed the world of religious poetry, and the supernal "Four Quartets" was for me a metaphysical insight of the greatest beauty.

    Eliot is without a doubt the finest poet of the 20th century, perhaps the finest poet ever. His contributions to the poets who came after him, and to literature in general, are persistently evident. Eliot doesn't always succeed, and many of his poems seem trite and pretentious, but when he succeeds he hits dead on with poetry perfect in form, balance, and sound. There is the man here, the poet as reflected in his own work, but there is also common human experience through looking at history ("The Waste Land") and meditating on Man's relationship with the Divine and the eternal (Ariel Poems, and most of his output after 1928).

    HOWEVER, this edition of his "collected works," COMPLETE POEMS AND PLAYS: 1909-1950 lacks several last poems which can be found in COLLECTED POEMS 1909-1962. I recommend that edition, as tt is worth missing out on Eliot's plays in order to have a truly complete collection of his sublime verse. ... Read more


    18. A Midsummer Night's Dream (Dover Thrift Editions)
    by William Shakespeare
    list price: $1.00
    our price: $2.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 048627067X
    Catlog: Book (1992-02-21)
    Publisher: Dover Publications
    Sales Rank: 133434
    Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Among the most popular of all Shakespeare’s comedies, this play humorously celebrates the vagaries of love. With its several pairs of lovers, on-again, off-again romances, magic spells, fairies, and a bumbling troupe of would-be actors, the play continues to enchant audiences. Unabridged reprint of an authoritative British edition, complete with explanatory footnotes.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (13)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A magical and comic read!
    I won't tell the whole plot of the play, for then I'll be destroying the mystery. I'll just say a tiny bit of the story so one will get the idea:

    1. Hermia and Lysander elope to get married, Demetrius follows them because he desperately loves Hermia and Helena follows Demetrius because he's the man of her dreams. All end up in a forrest.

    2. King Oberon and Queen Titania have a fight over a child, and Oberon wants revenge. Plus, he decides to help a certain couple he saw in the forrest.

    3. Peter Quince and his play fellows, along with the arrogant and conceited Bottom, are going to perform a play, and they chose to practice in the same forrest.

    Bottom line: Puck, Oberon's servant, messes everything up.

    What happens? What is the connection made between these 3 groups? Like I said, I'll not tell. ;> All I'm going to tell is that the play is worth a read. Magic, confusion, love, hate, revenge, mischance, proudness, friendship, joy, sadness, everything are all rolled into one (typical by Shakespeare).

    So, looking for a good and comic read by Shakespeare? Read this one and enjoy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars LOTS OF FUN TO READ!
    This version of this book is perfect! What more could you ask for? Its only [price] and is a wonderful play about romance and the "other" world of faeries! This is one of my favorite William Shakespeare plays, and is a quick read. Its short but sweet. And Lots of fun!

    4-0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable romp with very little substance.
    This play is tremendously fun, one of the most enjoyable of Shakespeare's plays, (and one of the easiest to read for a modern reader) but like most of his romances, it demonstrates a roughly sixth-grade understanding of romantic love. At least in a comedy, there's some excuse for this, and it's a tradition that certainly hasn't changed in over 400 years (see: "Shallow Hal", for example) but in general, the characters in this play have about the depth and plausibility of, say, the Three Stooges.

    Read this play if you're in the mood for lighthearted Shakespearean fluff, but not if you want something with some real meaning to it. This was, in Shakespeare's time, the equivalent of "Three's Company" or "Dharma & Greg". Light entertainment for the masses, not serious literature.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet
    This is a fabulous edition for anyone who just wants to get to the meat of the story. It's small, very portable, cheap, and doesn't waste a whole lot of time on introductions. The story itself is fairly well known. I would reccomend _Much Ado About Nothing_ for those who enjoy _Midsummer_'s light-hearted comedy and are willing to explore some of the themes a bit more deeply and seriously.

    4-0 out of 5 stars You feel like in a dream
    When you are reading the play you feel like in a dream The play both contains romantic and anti-romantic attitudes. William Shakespeare stimulates the imagination of the spectator by fantastic contrasts and the creation of an exotic fairy world. The main theme of the play is the love among different persons". Like there are four groups of persons, there are four different plots which weave together: First, the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta, second, the love-adventures of Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius and Helena, third, the quarrel between Oberon and Titania and last but not least the rehearsals and the performance of Bottom and the Athenian workmen of the play of "Pyramus and Thisby". At the beginning of the play it wasn't very simple to see through the four different plots and the language was sometimes very difficult to understand, but it's nevertheless a nice play you should really know! I think Shakespeare has put a symbolism into that play. The movement of the scenes could mean that the actors leave the real world for a short time, and enter in a dream world, to solve their problems there and come back, when all problems are solved. ... Read more


    19. The Norton Shakespeare: Based on the Oxford Edition
    by William Shakespeare, Walter Cohen, Jean E. Howard, Katharine Eisaman Maus, Stephen Greenblatt, Stephen Jay Greenblatt, Andrew Gurr
    list price: $73.85
    our price: $69.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393970876
    Catlog: Book (1997-03-01)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 34449
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A vibrant, new complete Shakespeare that brings readers closer than ever before possible top Shakespeare's plays as they were first acted. The Norton Shakespeare, Based on the Oxford Edition invites readers to rediscover Shakespeare-the working man of the theater, not the universal bard-and to rediscover his plays as scripts to be performed, not works to be immortalized. Combining the freshly edited texts of the Oxford Edition with lively introductions by Stephen Greenblatt and his co-editors, glossaries and annotations, and an elegant single-column page (that of the Norton Anthologies), this complete Shakespeare invites contemporary readers to see and read Shakespeare afresh. Greenblatt's full introduction creates a window into Shakespeare world-the culture, demographics, commerce, politics, and religion of early-modern England-Shakespeare's family background and professional life, the Elizabethan industries of theater and printing, and the subsequent centuries of Shakespeare textual editing. ... Read more

    Reviews (10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars the best available complete edition
    I am currently using this edition for my University undergraduate course. It is simply the most comprehensive edition available in one volume. The introductions to each play offer stimulating views using modern, contemporary criticism and the 'scene-setting' introduction to the collection, by Greenblatt, is highly informative. The text is wonderfully readable and actually makes you want to pick it up (or lay it on a table given its size) and just read. I like the thin pages, although they are susceptible to creasing, as it makes it feel as though you're reading a Bible - a suitable analogy I think. Recommendable to anyone interested in Shakespeare - this is an edition which does justice to his greatness (anyway I'd better stop wasting time on the 'Net and get back to my essay on 'Othello'!).

    5-0 out of 5 stars One bard, one book
    As a fervent admirer of Shakespeare, this complete collection, comprising excellent introductions to each play and helpful textual notes as well as informative writings on the history of both England and the art of acting that shaped Shakespeare's writing, was like a dream come true. While before I had to walk around trying to find a good edition of the play I wanted to read, now I can open the Norton Shakespeare and read without being afraid of not understanding words or missing the point of the play. This book's obvious drawbacks are its heft and, as mentioned, its delicate pages, but these are easily outweighed by the abovementioned advantages! Buy it and read!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Available
    I am new to Shakespeare and have started to read about him, his times, his works, and as a hobby try to become fairly knowledgeable about him and his place in our literary history. Starting from the basics I have reviewed a number of books and eventually I put together a "listmania" list of about 22-25 books. I am still not an expert nor do I claim such.

    Having said that, to get your feet wet there are a few good biographies and I like the Anthony Burgess book "Shakespeare" that is an easy read and just over 200 pages long. Also there are a few other books and tour guides such as the new DK guide with lots of maps and photos. Then there are books such as Boyce's book "Shakespeare A to Z".

    But I think the crown jewel of the books available is the present book almost 3500 pages long with CD which rises head and shoulders above anything else on the market. It is simply an excellent book by a group of highly qualified editors using the resources of Oxford. Obviously it can be improved but as of now it is the leader.

    Jack in Toronto

    3-0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag
    I would in fact prefer to award this 3.5 stars, but the Amazon system seems to compel one to choose between 3 and 4, and I think 4 is too generous. To begin with the text, there is no doubt that this is not the best Shakespeare to buy. It is to a large extent based on the Oxford Shakespeare, which - quite rightly, in my view - has attracted a lot of criticism for some of its peculiarities. Thus, for example, Oxford prints TWO versions of *King Lear*, the quarto text and that of the folio. Norton rightly takes issue with this, and produces the kind of conflated text that most readers would want, but adds the other two AS WELL (so we are offered THREE versions!). This kind of thing is, in truth, academic self-indulgence - it shows an undue respect for academic concerns which to most readers are not of the slightest interest. There is a similar tendency to pay scant regard to what most readers really want and need in the Introduction: that tells us a good deal about Shakespeare's time, and the material is interesting, but it is not often shown to be relevant, or necessary, to an understanding of what Shakespeare writes. The explanatory annotation accompanying the texts is not bad, but often inferior to that of comparable editions, notably Bevington's. The introductions to individual plays are usually stimulating, but not necessarily convincing. Thus Greenblatt on the one hand says about Macbeth's murder of Duncan, "That he does so without adequate motivation, that he murders a man toward whom he should be grateful and protective, deepens the mystery ..." (p. 2558), yet adds a few lines later: "Macbeth and Lady Macbeth act on ambition ...". Precisely, that IS Macbeth's motivation for the murder, as Macbeth himself points out unequivocally in 1.7.25-7 - there is, therefore, absolutely nothing mysterious about his motivation. The edition does, however, offer a number of good references to other writings about Shakespeare. All in all, I do consider 3.5 stars is a fair "grade", in seeking to assess this for the benefit of the majority of readers looking for a complete Shakespeare to buy; but I consider David Bevington's by far the best edition of the complete works, then the Riverside, and only then this one - though, with its annotations, it is certainly more useful than the Oxford edition on which it is based. - Joost Daalder, Professor of English, Flinders University, South Australia

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best of the lot.
    I confess that after examining 5-6 of the top-selling complete Shakespeares I tried not to like the Norton. There are less expensive editions, there are editions with glossy pages and colored photographs, there are editions that are half the weight and bulk of this leviathan, which is far more Shakespeare than the average reader--perhaps, even scholar, for that matter--would ever require. But despite its bulk and unwieldyness, its 3500 (!) thin, flimsy pages, its sheer excess, I couldn't ignore its advantages. The small print enables the publishers to squeeze in contextual materials--in the introduction and appendixes--that in themselves amount to an encyclopedic companion to Shakespeare's works; the introductions to the plays are written not in "textbook prose" but in an engaging style worthy of their subject; and perhaps, best of all, this is the only edition that places the glosses right alongside the "strange" Elizabethan word instead of in the footnotes. You can read the plays without experiencing vertigo of the eye. So this is the edition, though you may wish to go with the smaller, bound portions that Norton publishes of the same edition--especially if you can't afford the cost of a personal valet to carry this tome from home to office. On the other hand, the complete edition is excellent for doing crunches and other aerobic exercises--activities many of us who read the Bard are abt to ignore. ... Read more


    20. The Miracle Worker
    by William Gibson
    list price: $5.99
    our price: $5.39
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743457587
    Catlog: Book (2002-07-01)
    Publisher: Pocket
    Sales Rank: 36161
    Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    NO ONE COULD REACH HER

    Twelve-year-old Helen Keller lived in a prison of silence and darkness. Born deaf, blind, and mute, with no way to express herself or comprehend those around her, she flew into primal rages against anyone who tried to help her, fighting tooth and nail with a strength born of furious, unknowing desperation.

    Then Annie Sullivan came. Half-blind herself, but possessing an almost fanatical determination, she would begin a frightening and incredibly moving struggle to tame the wild girl no one could reach, and bring Helen into the world at last.... ... Read more

    Reviews (35)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
    Based on a true story, The Miracle Worker is a poignant drama exposing the childhood struggles and feats of Helen Keller. Keller's life story is widely regarded as one of the most inspirational triumphs of the human spirit in American history. This modern drama is a near perfect rendition of Keller's early years on a homestead farm in Tuscumbia, Alabama.

    As the play begins, Kate Keller discovers that her child, Helen, cannot hear nor see her. A period of time elapses, and the family is trying to decide what they should do for Helen. After a bit of reluctance, Captain Keller consents to writing to Dr. Chisholm, an oculist who might be able to help her. It turns out that the oculist cannot help Helen, but he does contact Alexander Graham Bell, who in turn refers the Kellers to the Perkins Institute for the Blind. The Institute sends to the Kellers Annie Sullivan, a teacher who will attempt to communicate with Helen. Annie's first day with Helen is rough, as Helen ends up locking Annie in her room and throwing away the key. Eventually, Annie is able to finger-spell into Helen's hand, but Helen doesn't quite understand what the words mean. When Annie tries to discipline Helen, Helen gets mad and won't let Annie touch her. This prompts Annie to ask for two weeks alone with Helen in the Kellers' garden house. Once again, after great reluctance, Captain Keller assents. The two weeks pass and Helen still hasn't learned what words mean. Annie asks for more time alone with Helen, but the Kellers refuse and insist on bringing her back into the house. The reader is left wondering what will happen and reads on, awestruck, as Helen begins to make tremendous progress.

    Besides educating the public about an important cultural icon, The Miracle Worker also promotes handicap awareness. I believe that this play can be used as a tool to teach children about accepting people with disabilities. As a disabled person myself, I testify to Keller's strength and every time I think of Keller, I am continually reminded at what I have accomplished in life despite tremendous difficulty. I'm sure that anyone who has ever been faced with an unusually tough set of circumstances will cherish this story, regardless of age, sex, or interests. As I said before, it's all about the human spirit -- if Keller's story doesn't inspire you to accomplish more in life, I doubt that anything will.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent real, vivid play!!!!
    Fantastic play!!!! The real suffering of everyone involved is sooo real! It's inspiring because it details the struggle to overcome serious handicaps. Annie is my absolute favorite character. I love the scenes with her & despite her own set of problems, like being blind herself & having terrible flashbacks & nightmares about her horrifying childhood, she gets her heart into getting Helen in touch with the world. Anne is one courageous lady!!! Even though I hear she was very modest about her accomplishments, Anne still deserves the honor of being remembered as the miracle worker of all time. I love how she persisted even though the rest of the Kellers were just content to have Helen "trained." Anne wanted Helen to be free to live like a real independent human being & it's so touching how she became attached to the little girl even though Helen was VERY difficult to handle, knocking out two of Annie's teeth & locking her in the room, then later battling with her at the breakfast table. And through it all, poor Annie struggles with trachoma hurting her eyes as well as being haunted by the death of her brother James. Of course, having James Keller around to make stupid remarks doesn't help either & I often felt like telling him to shut up. I get the feeling that there was a real power struggle between Arthur Keller & Anne too. I think Kate wanted to stand by Anne, but was didn't want to oppose her husband, whom along with everyone else, called him "Captain." I mentally cheered inside when Anne gets a chance to be alone with Helen, then later when she finally gets through to Helen about language! Anne really worked hard for that & I get the feeling that even though Kate & Arthur fell all over her thanking her at first because she'd "tamed" Helen, I read that later they really didn't appreciate Anne going the extra mile for them & teaching Helen to be independent & that's too bad because they really missed out on what Annie could have taught THEM and brought to their lives. Here's to you, Anne Sullivan!

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Miracle Worker
    I read the miracle worker. I thought that this book was great. It really poened my eyes to the world, and made me realise that my life isn't so bad.
    Imagine yourself achild with no hearing or sight. Hard to think about huh? It's almost unbelievable that this girl, Helen Keller, grew up to be such a fine women.
    With the help of Annie Sullivan Helen's life was changed drastically, not only did she learn how to communicate, she continued on and began writting books.
    I believe that Annie sullivan , being once blind herself , was really a "Miracle Worker" . This is a great book and I recomend it to any one who is looking for an insperational book.

    4-0 out of 5 stars "A Teacher Who Never Gave Up"
    The Miracle Worker, by William Gibson, is a dramatic play retelling the once lived lives of the exceptional Annie Sullivan and her young pupil, Helen Keller.
    The story revolves around Helen, a young 12 yr old deaf/blind mute who has been forced to grow up in a world which has denied her language and understanding. Her family includes her father- Arthur Keller, known as "Captain," a retired army officer, who has a need to be in control of situations, her mother- Kate Keller, who displays the most affection to the girl, "her Helen" whom she can deny nothing from, and finally, her half brother- James Keller, whose sarcastic remarks and slight jealousy toward Helen are made apparent throughout the story. All are dumbfounded by her condition, and continue to spoil her with their pity and attempt to control her actions with "treats," such as candy or cake. The end-result, leaving Helen to resemble that of a "wild creature," doing as she pleases and relying on all of her instincts- including anger and rage when not getting her way.
    This is where Annie Sullivan comes in. Partially blind herself, Annie, a young woman in her twenties, is hired by the Kellers in attempts to help control Helen and to "tame" her uncivilized behavior. Haunted by her dark past, but strong-willed nonetheless, Annie takes this mission full on-and a difficult one it turns out to be. These two girls go head to head, testing each other's wits and pushing each other to their limit. In the end, though, they learn from one another and obtain a newly-found respect for each other.
    This inspirational story touches the heart and awakens the senses within the readers-just as Helen learns to do. It takes you into an unimaginable journey, through which a child, who knows no sight, nor sound, not even a language, learns how to find her voice, with the help of a teacher who never gave up.
    It was a very compelling story, impossible for me to put down. I would definitely recommend this book for everyone. It puts things into perspective, and reminds you of the many things in your life, which are constantly taken for granted. This story also proves, that once again, determination and persistence can pay off. Everyone should be so lucky, as to have someone like Annie there to help you find your own voice.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A touching story of people losing hope, except a teacher...
    I read The Miracle Worker on my own as a class assignment, and I am very glad I chose it. It was a very touching story of how Annie Sullivan helped Helen Keller out of the silence by teaching her how to do sign language. It was almost like a journey, watching all the events that Annie had to conquer while teaching Helen. Annie was a brave, young woman who was also half-blind. In short...I found this a wonderful, and most rewarding story to read. ... Read more


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