Much Ado about Nothing (Arden Shakespeare, Third Series)

Overview

Much Ado About Nothing boasts one of Shakespeare's most delightful heroines, most dancing wordplay, and the endearing spectacle of intellectual and social self-importance bested by the desire to love and be loved in returban. It offers both the dancing wit of the "merry war" between the sexes, and a sobering vision of the costs of that combat for both men and women. Shakespeare dramatizes a social world in all of its vibrant particulars, in ...

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Much Ado about Nothing

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Overview

Much Ado About Nothing boasts one of Shakespeare's most delightful heroines, most dancing wordplay, and the endearing spectacle of intellectual and social self-importance bested by the desire to love and be loved in returban. It offers both the dancing wit of the "merry war" between the sexes, and a sobering vision of the costs of that combat for both men and women. Shakespeare dramatizes a social world in all of its vibrant particulars, in which characters are shaped by the relations between social convention and individual choice.
 
This edition of the play offers in its introduction and commentary an extensive discussion of the materials that informed Shakespeare's compositional choices, both those conventional sources and other contexts, from cuckold jokes to conduct books, which inform the ideas and identities of this play. Particular attention is devoted to Renaissance understandings of gender identity and social rank, as well as to the social valences of Shakespeare's stylistic choices. Among the elements of structure and style discussed are the two concurrent plots, the recurrence of verbal handshakes, and the use of music.  A treatment of staging possibilities offers illustrations drawn from the earliest and recent theatrical practices, and a critical history examines the fate of the play in the changing trends of academic scholarship.

A casting chart and a list of abbreviations and references are includes as appendices. 
 
The Arden Shakespeare has developed a reputation as the pre-eminent critical edition of Shakespeare for its exceptional scholarship, reflected in the thoroughness of each volume. An introduction comprehensively contextualizes the play, chronicling the history and culture that surrounded and influenced Shakespeare at the time of its writing and performance, and closely surveying critical approaches to the work. Detailed appendices address problems like dating and casting, and analyze the differing Quarto and Folio sources. A full commentary by one or more of the play’s foremost contemporary scholars illuminates the text, glossing unfamiliar terms and drawing from an abundance of research and expertise to explain allusions and significant background information. Highly informative and accessible, Arden offers the fullest experience of Shakespeare available to a reader.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The text is superb . . . the critical introduction is predictably smart and engaging, exactly the sort of essay one would recommend to students."—Eric Rasmussen, Shakespeare Survey
 

"The notes are a pleasure to read; glosses are adept and concise, without windy disquisitions on alternative meanings. Many longer entries are fascinating...Graceful concision also marks the notes on performance and theatrical history...Deftly deploys a combination of linguistic and literary analysis, theater history, and textual commentary...give[s] the reader a sense of the whole play as alive and ever changing, with many intriguing possibilities for interpretation, capably set out within the frame she has created."—Shakespeare Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781903436837
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 6/16/2005
  • Series: Arden Shakespeare Series
  • Edition description: Third Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 330,453
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Claire McEachern is Professor of English Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has edited The Cambridge Companion to Shakespearean Tragedy, and co-edited Religion and Culture in the English Renaissance, as well as five volumes of the Pelican Shakespeare (1 and 2 Henry IV, Henry V, King John, and All's Well That Ends Well). Her other previous publications include Poetics of English Nationhood 1590-1612.

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Table of Contents

Building a play : sources and contexts 4
The usual suspects : Ariosto and Bandello 5
Shakespeare's transformations of his sources : the creation of a social world 11
The maid 13
'How many gentlemen?' 14
The villain 17
The lover 19
Beyond the plot 22
Denouement 23
Dialogue and debate forms 26
Sexual stereotypes 28
Disdain 33
Modifications of type 34
Chaste, silent and obedient 38
Hero 41
Cuckolds 43
Structure and style 50
'The course of true love' 51
Two plots? 58
Style 62
Prose and the prosaic 63
Euphuism 65
Verbal handshakes 70
'The even road of a blank verse' 74
Image patterns 75
Songs 76
Staging Much ado 78
Tonal choices 80
Social representations 84
Choice of place and time 98
Cultural moment 102
Afterlives 108
Origins 110
Criticism 119
Text 125
First impressions 125
Making a book 128
Who's in, who's out 133
Who gets to say what? 140
Much ado about nothing 145
App Casting chart 319
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2002

    The Empire Lives On!

    Die hard Star Trek fans can apreciate the complexity of this book and the great efforts put into the whole translation. For the first time Federation readers can apreciate Wil'yam Shex'pIr in his original Klingon text, the way it was and is meant to be. No longer will Terrans be blinded by the Federation forgery of this great Klingon playwright. qo'mey poSmoH Hol ~ Language opens worlds

    2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2001

    Look Hero And Claudio Were Great

    Hi all, Look this is more than likely my favorite play. I loved ALL OF THE PEOPLE! but honestly Claudio got no respect. He only knew Hero for one week. How was he supposed to know about her morals when all he had were others courting her. Benedick and Beatrice were just exquisite. And Hero was a true maiden lady. Love conquers all.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2004

    This book was great it was magical!

    This book grab me it made me keep on reading till I finshed the book without putting it down. I have one word for this book WOW!

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2000

    Beautiful Play!

    This is one of the best plays that I have ever read. It is truly beautiful. I'ld have to say that Shakespeare is the best play writer that ever lived. His grammar makes his plays unique and different from others. I love all the books that he wrote.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2013

    Oye !

    Vjhhh

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    So Helpful

    The annotations really helped with some of the outdated words and references that Shakespeare used.

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  • Posted June 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Shakespeare...Hero

    William Shakespeare Much Ado about Nothing is one of the many comedy of Shakespeares. I really enjoyed this book alot, I didnt find it much humerous but I did enjoy it. Especially, the character Hero.

    Much Ado about Nothing is a book about a young Lord of Florence name Claudio who falls in love with a girl name Hero. And about a young Lord of Pandua name Benedick who is trick and believing that he is in love with Beatrice(Leonato niece).Benedick and Beatrice both believed almost immediately that what they had overheard their friends saying in the garden was correct and completely true. Neither person decided to test what they had heard. To see if what was said was true. Because both did not check to see if the information they heard was correct, everything worked out. Both assumed what they had heard was true and acted on it. There were no visible consequences. What a mess you would have if Benedick decided that what he had overheard could not possibly be true. Beatrice would have made a fool out of herself while thinking that Benedick felt the same way. The same could be said the other way around.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2005

    Much Ado About Nothing

    Much Ado About Nothing is a great book. When I started reading this book it was for my Language Arts class so I thought, 'This is going to be another boring story that everyone will hate but the teacher.' I had never read Shakespeare before, so the Folger Library Edition helped me a ton by providing definitions to words and phrases every other page. When I was through the first act, I was so interested in the plot that I read the book for pleasure more than for my class. Anyone with a high reading level will enjoy Much Ado About Nothing because it has everything from comedy and marrige to evil plans and mischief. Much Ado About Nothing is rich in meaning and themes. You will have to ponder about the many themes that run throughout the story. Much Ado About Nothing should definently be read by anyone who wants a great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2005

    And thus far it was, in all forms, good. With all due respect that thus it deserved.

    This book is really entertaining. Although i have yet to completely finish the story. As the plot develps and the characters motives become clear to the reader, it turns into a really enjoyable read for all highschool and some special middle school students. Although the language of the Shakesperian time is difficult to comprehend and understand, the Floger Library Edition provides excellent and understandable plot synopsies and definitions for all the unclear words and ancient english language. This book is not only rich in text, but it is rich in meaning as well. Some may find it really interesting and entertaining that the friends of two absentminded lovers would get tehm to hook up. But then again, some might find pleasure in the destroying of the wedding that takes place at the beginning of the novel. This book was not only a joy to read, but it was also a joy to discuss and will keep you laughing for hours at Dogberry and the gang.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2005

    Much Ado About Nothing

    Much Ado About Nothing is one of the 'forgotten' Shakespearean Plays that lies in the shadows of Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet and A Midsummer's Night's Dream. Being a comedy it is somewhat relieving to know that it has a happy ending. It starts out when Don Pedro's army returns from a victory to Messina. Leonato, Messina's governor, agrees to let Don pedro's army stay in his town for a week. Claudio, a young warrior who performed valiantly in the war, falls in love with Leonato's daughter, Hero. While Claudio tries to win the heart of Hero, Benedick and Beatrice engage in a clash of wit. They both swear never to marry and persistently hate each other. Claudio, with the help of Don Pedro, wins Hero and they are set to marry. Don Pedro comes up with the idea of trying to get Beatirce and Benedick to fall in love with each other. Don Pedro's brother, Don John, wants to break up the marriage of Hero and Claudio so he and his servant, Borachio, devise a plan to fool Claudio. It ends like a typical Shakespearean Comedy and is somewhat interesting. Note: This book is not for the average person who wants to upgrade his/her Shakespearean vocabulary. It will be boring unless you go into it thingking that it is written like a play.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2000

    Beautifully Written.

    Well, Shakespeare has done it again. Much Ado About Nothing is one of my favorite plays. The excitement, tension, mischevious and duplitous schemes, backstabbing, treachery, and suspense just makes you want to continue reading. Great book. GO READ IT PEOPLE!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 24, 2010

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