The Tragedy of Coriolanus

Overview

This generously annotated edition of Coriolanus offers a thorough reconsideration of Shakespeare's remarkable, and probably his last, tragedy. A substantial introduction situates the play within its contemporary social and political contexts - dearth, riots, the struggle over authority between James I and his first parliament, the travails of Essex and Ralegh - and pays particular attention to Shakespeare's shaping of his primary source in Plutarch's Lives. It presents a fresh account of how the protagonist's ...
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The Tragedy of Coriolanus

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Overview

This generously annotated edition of Coriolanus offers a thorough reconsideration of Shakespeare's remarkable, and probably his last, tragedy. A substantial introduction situates the play within its contemporary social and political contexts - dearth, riots, the struggle over authority between James I and his first parliament, the travails of Essex and Ralegh - and pays particular attention to Shakespeare's shaping of his primary source in Plutarch's Lives. It presents a fresh account of how the protagonist's personal tragedy evolves within Shakespeare's most searching exploration of the political life of a community." "The edition is alert throughout to the play's theatrical potential, while the stage history also attends to the politics of performance from the 1680s to the 1990s, including European productions following the Second World War.

The New Revised Signet Classic edition of Shakespeare's rich ironic tragedy includes a new comprehensive stage history by Schoenbaum of notable actors, directors and productions of Coriolanus, plus a special introduction by the editor.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
The ultimate Shakespeare tool for high school classrooms. This last of Shakespeare's tragedies derives from the writings of Plutarch. The story goes that General Coriolanus was ejected from Rome by an angry mob and sought revenge by aligning himself with Rome's enemies. Ultimately, his defection leads to his death. However, what sets one edition of a Shakespeare play apart from any other edition? The difference, in this case, is in the instructional details. This volume begins with a Cliff Notes-like summary (although definitely a literary cut above); a detailed description of critical characters in the play; a scene-by-scene breakdown of how the play evolves; and a longer commentary on each scene. The play is formatted in columns so that the obscure Shakespearean phrases are explained on the same visual line. The book concludes with the Plutarch source text, and offers criticisms, questions, and historical perspective for classroom discussion. In all, a very comprehensive study aid and if this play is not your cup of Earl Grey, the series includes more accessible works from the Bard. 1999, Oxford University Press, Ages 14 to Adult, $7.95. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
Library Journal
Penguin chose to revamp its venerable Pelican Shakespeare line in 1999. The updated series includes more accurate texts and new introductions by the current crop of leading Shakespearean scholars. The good stuff just gets better with age. (Classic Returns, LJ 10/15/99) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
YA-- Four more useful volumes accessible to high-school students of Shakespeare. Each includes a stage history, a critical history, and a few short critical analyses by the authors.
From the Publisher

"Professor Jeffrey Kahan’s expertise in the history of Shakespearean acting complements Kittredge’s lucid [introduction and text] to create an edition of Coriolanus that centers modern readers in the play’s performance. Kahan’s introduction to the edition both recounts historical performances and carefully details recent directorial choices—choices that reappear in the course of his footnotes providing acting choices for key scenes. These notes, together with photographs of compelling performances, fix the reader’s imagination firmly in the midst of Shakespeare’s chilling theatrical portrayal of Republican Rome. This highly accessible edition will prove invaluable for actors, students, and lovers of Shakespeare."
—Cyndia Clegg, Pepperdine University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781104427504
  • Publisher: Kessinger Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 4/27/2009
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Kahan is a Professor of English at the University of La Verne in California. He completed his PhD at the Shakespeare Institute of the University of Birmingham, England. He has published extensively on Shakespearean forgeries and parodies, has published numerous articles, notes, and reviews, and has edited many editions of Shakespeare, including the Shakespeare for Children series.

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Read an Excerpt

ACT I. Scene I. [Rome. A street.]

Enter a company of mutinous Citizens, with staves, clubs, and other weapons.

1. Citizen Before we proceed any further, hear me speak.

All. Speak, speak!

1. Citizen You are all resolv’d rather to die than to famish?

All. Resolv’d, resolv’d!

1. Citizen First, you know Caius Martius is chief enemy to the people. 5

All. We know’t, we know’t!

1. Citizen Let us kill him, and we’ll have corn at our own price. Is’t a verdict?

All. No more talking on’t! Let it be done! Away, away!

2. Citizen One word, good citizens. 9

1. Citizen We are accounted poor citizens, the patricians good. What authority surfeits on would relieve us. If they would yield us but the superfluity while it were wholesome, we might guess they relieved us humanely; but they think we are too dear. The leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularize their abundance; our sufferance is a gain to them. Let us revenge this with our pikes ere we become rakes; for the gods know I speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for revenge.

2. Citizen Would you proceed especially against Caius Martius? 15

1. Citizen Against him first. He’s a very dog to the commonalty.

2. Citizen Consider you what services he has done for his country?

1. Citizen Very well, and could be content to give him good report for’t but that he pays himself with being proud.

2. Citizen Nay, but speak not maliciously. 20

1. Citizen I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did it to that end. Though soft-conscienc’d men can be content to say it was for his country, he did it to please his mother and to be partly proud, which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue.

2. Citizen What he cannot help in his nature, you account a vice in him. You must in no way say he is covetous.

1. Citizen If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations. He hath faults (with surplus) to tire in repetition. 25

Shouts within.

What shouts are these? The other side o’ th’ city is risen. Why stay we prating here? To th’ Capitol!

All. Come, come!

1. Citizen Soft! who comes here?

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Kittredge Edition Introduction to the Focus Edition
Coriolanus
How to Read Coriolanus as Performance Timeline Topics for Discussion and Further Study Bibliography

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