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Steven RatinerA Choice of Shakespeare's Verse is a reissue of a book championing the idea (hardly original with Hughes, but wonderfully realized here) that many of the speeches from the Bard's plays can stand, outside their dramatic settings, with the very best of English verse. In this selection, these passages are intermixed with the sonnets, their sources identified only at the book's end. Readers are freed to enter the imaginative realm of each verse, unbound by the characters and action of the plays. In a concluding essay, detailing the religious and social forces that charged the Elizabethan imagination, Hughes makes the most carefully articulated analysis of Shakespeare's poetic language I've ever read.
—The Washington Post