Charles Edelman focuses on the play's sexual politics and recent scholarship devoted to the position of Jews in Shakespeare's time in this new edition. He surveys the international scope of theatrical interpretations of The Merchant in the 1980s and 1990s as well as different ways of tackling the troubling figure of Shylock. First Edition Hb (1988): 0-521-22156-0 First Edition Pb (1988): 0-521-29371-5
"The introduction and commentary reveal an author with a lively awareness of the importance of perceiving the play as a theatrical document, one which comes to life, which is completed only in performance." The Review of English Studies
School Library Journal
.Gr 4–6—Two more entries in Barron's series, not to be confused with Eureka's series of the same name. The stories are encapsulated in two-page units of plot and circumstance for easy consumption. Captions explain the events, pictures help to differentiate among the characters, and the volumes are rife with footnotes and explication at the bottom of every page. Breaking the story down into bite-size chunks helps with vocabulary and comprehension, but can wreak havoc with the pacing. Readers are apt to find Merchant overlong, with the narrowly focused chapters giving some of Shakespeare's short, establishing scenes an accidental or unfortunate weight. However, Macdonald strives to maintain as much of the Bard's original language as possible. This effort to represent the original material may be hard going for readers, but it provides an authentic experience that the much looser adaptation of Mohicans can't match. Merchant's artwork focuses on heads and faces, giving each character an opportunity to act out the dialogue, and works quite well, both narratively and educationally.—Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH
Introduction, with new section on recent critical and stage interpretations by Charles Edelman; Note on the text; List of characters; The play; Supplementary note; Textual analysis; Appendix: Shakespeare's use of the Bible in The Merchant of Venice; Reading list.