The latest addition to our highly acclaimed Oxford School Shakespeare series, Coriolanus is probably the Bard's last tragedy, written about 1608. Set in ancient Rome, it follows the life of Roman general Coriolanus, who betrays his country and leads a barbarian army against his own people to avenge his honor. Featuring numerous illustrations and photographs from performances all over the world, the play is fully annotated with notes directly facing the text.
Helpful sections at the front of the book include a plot summary, an introductory essay which places this work against its historical background, and a brief discussion of the characters in the play. Comprehension questions for students, a biographical summary of Shakespeare's life, and a detailed index are contained among the appendices. Finally, the large print and wide-margin format complete what is the most comprehensive, clear, and least intimidating exposure to Shakespeare for young adults.
The ultimate Shakespeare tool for high school classrooms. This last of Shakespeare's tragedies derives from the writings of Plutarch. The story goes that General Coriolanus was ejected from Rome by an angry mob and sought revenge by aligning himself with Rome's enemies. Ultimately, his defection leads to his death. However, what sets one edition of a Shakespeare play apart from any other edition? The difference, in this case, is in the instructional details. This volume begins with a Cliff Notes-like summary (although definitely a literary cut above); a detailed description of critical characters in the play; a scene-by-scene breakdown of how the play evolves; and a longer commentary on each scene. The play is formatted in columns so that the obscure Shakespearean phrases are explained on the same visual line. The book concludes with the Plutarch source text, and offers criticisms, questions, and historical perspective for classroom discussion. In all, a very comprehensive study aid and if this play is not your cup of Earl Grey, the series includes more accessible works from the Bard. 1999, Oxford University Press, Ages 14 to Adult, $7.95. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross