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The Tempest (Oxford School Shakespeare)

The Tempest (Oxford School Shakespeare)
Author: William Shakespeare
ISBN 13: 9780198321514
ISBN 10: 198321511
Edition: N/A
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: 2006
Format: N/A
Pages: N/A
List Price: N/A

The Oxford School Shakespeare has become the preferred introduction to the literary legacy of the greatest playwright in the English language. This exclusive collection of the Bard's best works has been designed specifically for readers new to Shakespeare's rich literary legacy. Each play is presented complete and unabridged, in large print. Every book is well illustrated, and starts with a commentary and character summary. Scene synopses and character summaries clarify confusing plots, while incisive essays explore the historical context and Shakespeare's sources. Each book ends with a complete list of Shakespeare's plays and a brief chronology of the Bard's life. The detailed explanatory notes are written clearly and positioned right next to the text—no more squinting at microscopic footnotes or flipping pages back and forth in search of endnotes!
The new edition of the series features new covers and new illustrations, including both new drawings and photos from recent productions of Shakespeare's plays around the globe. In addition, the notes and the introductory material have been completely revised in line with new research and in order to make them clearer and more accessible. Finally, the entire text has been redesigned and reset to enhance readability. The new edition achieves the feat of unprecedented clarity of presentation without any cuts to the original text or the detailed explanations.


This book is designed to help students read a play written in an English used 350 years ago-but the reader has to get to page 105 among the appendices to learn the book's intended audience. This information would have been more helpful as an introduction, instead of the offbeat one found here. The book's strength lies in its page-by-page notes that explain difficult words, archaic phrases, and historical/literary allusions. An occasional note may be more than the student wants, but most are useful without being dumbed-down. The notes are also helpfully placed alongside the text rather than at the bottom of the page, a feature students might like if they are not put off by the resultant double-column appearance.

While the notes should be useful to students at any grade level, the appended material, both introductory and supplementary, is marked by style and vocabulary making it suitable only for the most advanced and/or interested high school or undergraduate students. Among the appendices is a modern poem with no explanation for its inclusion, and no identification of the poet whose poem does allude to the The Tempest. One gets the impression of a mountain of unrelated three-by-five cards being used, with no effort to bridge them together. A long appendix titled "Classwork and Examination," which is a collection of very good ideas for teachers, is strangely addressed to students.

The cover features a fine color photograph of Sweden's Max Von Sydow as Prospero and Rudi Davies as Miranda, but one wonders if a picture of the young lovers or Caliban the monster would have been more appealing to young readers. Students could make good use of this book by ignoring most of the scholarly appendages and using the excellent footnotes to elucidate one of the most enjoyable of Shakespeare's profound works. Illus. Charts. Source Notes. Further Reading. Chronology. Appendix.

VOYA Codes: 2Q 2P S (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q, For the YA rea