Titus Andronicus (Arden Shakespeare, Third Series)

( 18 )

Overview

After centuries of vilification and neglect by both scholars and actors, Titus Andronicus has at last come to be recognized as one of Shakespeare's early masterpieces. In this powerful edition, Bate offers a complete and radical reappraisal of Shakespeare's bloodiest tragedy, seeing it as one of the dramatist's most inventive plays, a complex and self-conscious improvisation upon classical sources. Bate's introduction does full justice to the play's textual and technical artfulness and sophistication, ...

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Titus Andronicus

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Overview

After centuries of vilification and neglect by both scholars and actors, Titus Andronicus has at last come to be recognized as one of Shakespeare's early masterpieces. In this powerful edition, Bate offers a complete and radical reappraisal of Shakespeare's bloodiest tragedy, seeing it as one of the dramatist's most inventive plays, a complex and self-conscious improvisation upon classical sources. Bate's introduction does full justice to the play's textual and technical artfulness and sophistication, putting forward new arguments regarding the play's date, sources and early stage history, including the technical descriptions and illustrations. He devotes extended discussion to great modern productions (with black and white photographs) such as those of Peter Brook and Deborah Warner. In an appendix, patterns and precedents in plot and speech are addressed and sources (MetamorphosesThe Spanish Tragedy, The Jew of Malta, and others) transcribed.  A reference guide including abbreviations, references, and citations is also provided.
 
In an age in which dramatic representation of violence has become an issue of enormous controversy, Titus Andronicus is the essential play; Bate's seminal edition indicates just how far, with this early work, the young Shakespeare has already travelled towards the masterpiece of his maturity, King Lear.
 
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
"This is an outstanding edition of Titus, especially for its treatment of textual questions and of recent performance history. It supersedes all previous editions."—Dr. Paul Hartle, St. Catharine's College, Cambridge
 
"Bate makes a really positive virtue of his treatment of the play in performance . . . putting a vigorous account of Titus on stage at very stage-centre in his Introduction. Using this section as a means for raising fundamental questions as to the play's style, coherence, and meaning, Bate achieves a remarkable fusion between performance history and criticism."—John Jowett, Shakespeare Survey
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781903436059
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 3/28/1995
  • Series: Arden Shakespeare Series
  • Edition description: Third Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 273,449
  • Product dimensions: 4.98 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Bate is Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick, an honorary Fellow of St. Catharine's College Cambridge, and a Fellow of the British Academy. He has written several books on Shakespeare, including Shakespeare and Ovid and The Genius of Shakespeare. Well known as a reviewer and broadcaster, he is also the author of Romantic Ecology and a novel, The Cure for Love.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations General editors preface Acknowledgements Introduction - The dramatic achievement - The theatrical life - Origins - Establishing the text TITUS ANDRONICUS Appendix: Patterns and precedents Abbreviations and references Index

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 8, 2010

    Now I know Shakespeare can write Gore

    Titus Andronicus is a spectacular story of Social Status, rape, mutilation, deception, and pure evil. Titus is a Roman General who has just returned from war with the Goths. He has returned to Rome with the Goth queen, her sons, and her lover as prisoners. Titus has also returned with his 25 warrior sons, 21 of whom are dead. They return to find that the emperor has died and there is a sort of city meeting held to determine who will follow as emporer. The choice is between the Emperor's two sons, Saturnine and Bassianus, and Titus. Titus would become emporer if he didn't decline. In a turn of events, Saturnine becomes emporer and ends up marrying The queen of the very people that Titus has just conquered. Tamorah, the Goth queen, uses her new status to manipulate Titus and his sons. Aaron the Moor, Tamorah's lover, is responsible for instigating most of the heinous acts of rape and torture. This is considered to be one of Shakespeare's earliest works and is a little rough around the edges as far as character development. It is nonetheless a good read, whether for pleasure or schoolwork.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

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    The Pigments of a Tragedy

    Color can provide powerful imagery and insight in any story. Most can identify with color imagery in film, but in writing it is just as valuable of a tool. In Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare uses color for character development and foreshadowing.

    Throughout the text, Shakespeare uses color to give the reader a sense of what is to come. In Act 2 Scene 2 Titus proclaims, "The hunt is up, the moon is bright and gray" (1). Gray is a drab color, one that is cool and uninteresting and carries with it a sober tone of sorrow. Although the events are pleasing to the characters as the scene begins, the color chosen by the author is one of sadness and disappointment. This choice has purpose. He is foreshadowing by showing the reader that although the "moon is bright", or the events of the day appear enjoyable, the overall outcome will be "gray". Then he fulfills on the unstated promise of sorrow when Bassianus is slain and Lavinia is raped and maimed. (Also intriguing are the choice of opening words, "the hunt is up"---meaning not only the hunt for wild game but the sexual hunt of Demetrius and Chiron for the woman Lavinia. An idea to be fully developed elsewhere). The color gray could also be interpreted to represent the shady nature of the personalities in the play. Characters like Demetrius, Chiron, Tamora, and Aaron are all lying convincingly to the protagonists. The gray could be representative of the veiled machinations of their wicked plots or the general location of their moral character (i.e. in the "gray area").

    Furthermore, In Act 2 Scene 3, Bassianus and Lavinia unknowingly foreshadow while using color to depict character when they say, "Why are you sequester'd from all your train,/ Dismounted from your snow-white goodly steed,/ And wander'd hither to an obscure plot..?/...let her joy in her raven-colour'd love;/ This valley fits the purpose passing well" (75-77, 83-84). Here Tamora is characterized by the "snow-white goodly steed" reference. She has "dismounted" from the goodly steed of her husband Saturninus and mounted another (referring to her sexual affair with Aaron the Moor). Also white is typically considered a pure or righteous hue. If Tamora has distanced herself from the "snow-white" then symbolically she is unrighteous and without purity. Shakespeare then hints at the purpose of Tamora and Aaron's rendezvous by calling the area an "obscure plot". The two met to bring their wicked plans to fruition and they commenced with the slaying of Bassianus (one of their many "obscure plots"). The reference to their "raven-colour'd love" is also heavily layered. Raven is black, often personified as evil or unclean. Tamora and Aaron are having an illicit affair unbeknownst to the emperor, a truly 'black' deed. Also there is reference to the color of Aaron's skin, he is a Moor and is therefore of dark complexion. The foreshadowing of this moment is lost to all the characters in the scene because Tamora does not find out until later that she is pregnant. When the black child is born it is the physical representation of their "raven-colour'd love".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2002

    A delightfully diabolical.. menacing read of pure horror..

    Absoutley the most graphic novel I've ever read in my life. It's mesmerizing charcters, complex and overwhelming plots, the magnificent creations of evil upon evil, and the ultimate sacrifice of love is all presented here in this, striking, stunning, groundbreaking play by Shakespeare. The most macabre play to come out in a long time, sensual, fervent, and hypnotic.A insightful,delicious story. A very entertaining and deeply moving novel about the complexities of families. Shakespeare's haunting masterpiece. Vivid, brilliant,unforgettable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2001

    Titus Andronicus

    Titus, in my opinion, is one of the most fascinating works by William Shakespeare I've read so far. I certaintly recomend this book to any of those with a wild imagination and an open mind. These lines can take you to a place you never could have imagined before,but now you will.

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