Upon publication in 1997, The Norton Shakespeare set a new standard for teaching editions of Shakespeare's complete works.
Instructors and students worldwide welcomed the fresh scholarship, lively and accessible introductions, helpful marginal glosses and notes, readable single-column format, all designed in support of the goal of the Oxford text: to bring the modern reader closer than before possible to Shakespeare's plays as they were first acted. Now, under Stephen Greenblatt's direction, the editors have considered afresh each introduction and all of the apparatus to make the Second Edition an even better teaching tool.
Acclaimed Introductions Revised
Building on its greatest strength, The Norton Shakespeare's much-praised introductions are now even better. Stephen Greenblatt's General Introduction and the individual play introductions have been thoughtfully revised in response to instructors' suggestions. New discussions in the General Introduction of the "confessional tensions" in the plays, the economic status of women, genre-mixing, exorcisms, and Shakespeare's fascination with monarchy, among other topics, reflect recent scholarship. Introductions to Macbeth, Hamlet (whose Textual Note now includes several parallel passages from the Second Quarto and First Folio), The Taming of the Shrew, Julius Caesar, Coriolanus, Loves Labour's Lost, and Othello, among other plays, have been substantially revised and in some cases rewritten, to be clearer and more accessible. A new introduction to King Edward III has been added. Textual Notes throughout have been updated in response to recent findings.
New and Fine-tuned Glosses and Notes
Students and instructors alike appreciate the succinct marginal glosses and clear annotations in The Norton Shakespeare. In the Second Edition, glosses and notes throughout have been fine-tuned, with several hundred newly added in response to instructors' suggestions.
Helpful New Features
Single-column Page; Flexible New Formats
The Norton Shakespeare is the first and only one-volume student Shakespeare to provide a single-column text with marginal glosses, a page-design that facilitates comprehension and makes reading more enjoyable. Now, the Second Edition offers that readable page design in three different formats: the familiar one-volume clothbound edition, four genre paperbacks, and new two-volume chronological splits—priced the same as the one-volume edition. No other complete Shakespeare offers this portable two-volume format. Volume 1, Early Plays and Poems, includes plays through Twelfth Night; Volume 2, Later Plays, opens with Hamlet. The two-volume splits are printed on a heavier paper stock to facilitate note-taking. Individual chronological volumes can be ordered separately.
Priced for Students
With other leading one-volume complete Shakespeares costing between ten and fifteen dollars more, The Norton Shakespeare is an excellent value for students.
New Genre Introductions
A much-requested enhancement, each genre volume now opens with an entirely new introduction—Tragedies by Stephen Greenblatt; Comedies by Katharine Eisaman Maus; Histories by Jean E. Howard; Romances by Walter Cohen—exploring the characteristics of each genre as Shakespeare practices it; classical and medieval antecedents; Shakespeare's love of genre-mixing and "mingling kings and clowns"; and critical approaches to and key themes of the genre.
The Norton Shakespeare Student Website is an exciting gateway to six of the plays— The Merchant of Venice, Henry IV, Part 1, Hamlet, Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Tempest. For each play, students will find a wealth of resources, including Thematic Topics, Sources, Bibliography, Theatrical and Critical Receptions, and more.