Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (New Kittredge Shakespeare Series)

Overview


George Lyman Kittredge’s insightful editions of Shakespeare have endured in part because of his eclecticism, his diversity of interests, and his wide-ranging accomplishments, all of which are reflected in the valuable notes in each volume.

These new editions have specific emphasis on the performance histories of the plays (on stage and screen).

Features of each edition include:

- The original introduction to the Kittredge Edition

- Editor’s ...

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Overview


George Lyman Kittredge’s insightful editions of Shakespeare have endured in part because of his eclecticism, his diversity of interests, and his wide-ranging accomplishments, all of which are reflected in the valuable notes in each volume.

These new editions have specific emphasis on the performance histories of the plays (on stage and screen).

Features of each edition include:

- The original introduction to the Kittredge Edition

- Editor’s Introduction to the Focus Edition. An overview on major themes of the plays, and sections on the play’s performance history on stage and screen.

- Explanatory Notes. The explanatory notes either expand on Kittredge’s superb glosses, or, in the case of plays for which he did not write notes, give the needed explanations for Shakespeare’s sometimes demanding language.

- Performance notes. These appear separately and immediately below the textual footnotes and include discussions of noteworthy stagings of the plays, issues of interpretation, and film and stage choices.

- How to read the play as Performance Section. A discussion of the written play vs. the play as performed and the various ways in which Shakespeare’s words allow the reader to envision the work "off the page."

- Comprehensive Timeline. Covering major historical events (with brief annotations) as well as relevant details from Shakespeare’s life. Some of the Chronologies include time chronologies within the plays.

- Topics for Discussion and Further Study Section. Critical Issues: Dealing with the text in a larger context and considerations of character, genre, language, and interpretative problems. Performance Issues: Problems and intricacies of staging the play connected to chief issues discussed in the Focus Editions’ Introduction.

- Select Bibliography & Filmography

Each New Kittredge edition also includes screen grabs from major productions, for comparison and scene study.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This splendid edition furnishes readers, students, and theater people alike with a marvelous set of tools for appreciating the many facets of Shakespeare's play: a freshly edited text from the authoritative 1599 quarto, trenchant explanatory notes, and - best of all – insightful performance notes detailing the various ways in which individual passages have been interpreted in important films and stage productions.
- Eric Rasmussen, University of Nevada, Reno and co-editor of the RSC Shakespeare edition

Even as the New Kittredge Shakespeare series glances back to George Lyman Kittredge's student editions of the plays, it is very much of our current moment: the slim editions are targeted largely at high school and first-year college students who are more versed in visual than in print culture. Not only are the texts of the plays accompanied by photographs or stills from various stage and cinema performances: the editorial contributions are performance-oriented, offering surveys of contemporary film interpretations, essays on the plays as performance pieces, and an annotated filmography. Traditional editorial issues (competing versions of the text, cruxes, editorial emendation history) are for the most part excluded; the editions focus instead on clarifying the text with an eye to performing it. There is no disputing the pedagogic usefulness of the New Kittredge Shakespeare's performance-oriented approach. At times, however, it can run the risk of treating textual issues as impediments, rather than partners, to issues of performance. This is particularly the case with a textually vexed play such as Pericles: Prince of Tyre. In the introduction to the latter, Jeffrey Kahan notes the frequent unintelligibility of the play as originally published: "the chances of a reconstructed text matching what Shakespeare actually wrote are about 'nil'" (p. xiii) But his solution — to use a "traditional text" rather than one corrected as are the Oxford and Norton Pericles — obscures how this "traditional text," including its act and scene division, is itself a palimpsest produced through three centuries of editorial intervention. Nevertheless, the series does a service to its target audience with its emphasis on performance and dramaturgy. Kahan's own essay about his experiences as dramaturge for a college production of Pericles is very good indeed, particularly on the play's inability to purge the trace of incestuous desire that Pericles first encounters in Antioch. Other plays' cinematic histories: Annalisa Castaldo's edition of Henry V contrasts Laurence Oliver's and Branagh's film productions; Samuel Crowl's and James Wells's edition of (respectively) I and 2 Henry IV concentrate on Welle's Chimes at Midnight and Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho; Patricia Lennox's edition of As You Like It offers an overview of four Hollywood and British film adaptations; and John R. Ford's edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream provides a spirited survey of the play's rich film history.

The differences between, and comparative merits of, various editorial series are suggested by the three editions of The Taming of the Shrew published this year. Laury Magnus's New Kittredge Shakespeare edition is, like the other New Kittredge volumes, a workable text for high school and first year college students interested in film and theater. The introduction elaborates on one theme — Elizabethan constructions of gender — and offers a very broad performance history, focusing on Sam Taylor's and Zeffirelli's film versions as well as adaptations such as Kiss Me Kate and Ten Things I Hate About You (accompanied by a still of ten hearthtrobs Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles). The volume is determined to eradicate any confusion that a first time reader of the play might experience: the dramatis personae page explains that "Bianca Minola" is "younger daughter to Baptista, wooed by Lucentio-in-disguise (as Cambio) and then wife to him, also wooed by the elderly Gremio and Hortensio-in-disguise (as Licio)" (p.1). Other editorial notes, based on Kittredge's own, are confined mostly to explaining individual words and phrases: additional footnotes discuss interpretive choices made by film and stage productions. Throughout, the editorial emphasis is on the play less as text than as performance piece, culminating in fifteen largely performance-oriented "study questions" on topics such as disguise, misogyny, and violence.

Studies in English Literature, Tudor and Stuart Drama, Volume 51, Spring 2011, Number 2, pages 497-499.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585101634
  • Publisher: Focus Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/28/2008
  • Series: New Kittredge Shakespeare Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author


Bernice W. Kliman (1933–2011) was the editor of The Enfolded Hamlets, and co-editor of The Three-Text Hamlet and of Focus (New Kittredge) editions of Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and Measure for Measure. In addition to books and articles on performance history, she published numerous notes and essays about the early history of editing. She was the coordinating editor of hamletworks.org.

Laury Magnus is Professor of Humanities at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York. Her books include a study of poetic repetition in early twentieth-century British and American poetry and a co-translation and introduction to Ivan Goncharov’s nineteenth-century Russian novel, The Precipice. Her articles have appeared in The Wallace Stevens Journal, Assays,Language and Style, and, on Shakespeare, in Literature/Film Quarterly, Connotations, and College Literature. She is also a frequent contributor to The Shakespeare Newsletter and an Associate Member of the Columbia Shakespeare Seminar.

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