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The Riverside Shakespeare

4.56  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,483 Ratings  ·  185 Reviews
Shakespearean Studies, British Literature, Literary Studies
Hardcover, 1923 pages
Published December 1st 1974 by Houghton Mifflin Company (first published January 1st 1974)
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Andee Browne
Need a comprehensive volume of all of Shakespeare's works? This book is for you.

How about a security system? I guarantee any burglar you bash over the head with this book is going to have at least a concussion, if not brain damage.

What about a doorstop? do you live in a drafty house with doors slamming all the time? You need one of these then, any door parked behind this tome is going nowhere.

Got kids? Are they too big for a high chair but still a little too short for a regular chair? Park one
Apr 23, 2014 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Riverside Shakespeare is one of my most prized possessions. All battered and marked up* and with all kinds of ephemera jammed down into it. I don't really read from it anymore - it's much easier for me to either read plays on Kindle or to find an edition with just one play in it; Riverside is very large. But when I re-read Shakespeare I usually revisit the Riverside intros, which are excellent.

* I should note, it's marked up with the dumbest shit. I don't understand any of the notes I took in
Apr 25, 2016 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-shelf
Every word in the Shakespeare canon has been read. Fuck yeah!
Jan 18, 2015 R.a. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drama
Although I've read MOST of this anthology, I cannot honestly say that I've the whole thing.

But, almost all.

Henry VI, Parts I, II, & III, quite frankly were too daunting. They became laborious which was exactly the OPPOSITE experience of the rest of the plays, sonnets, and scholarship in this wonderful compilation.
Jul 03, 2012 Quirkyreader rated it it was amazing
The copy I have used to be my mum's. It's full of annotations that she wrote down while reading Shakespeare at University.

Aside from the small print, it is a good edition to use while reading the Bard.
L. W.
Jun 21, 2010 L. W. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shakespeare ROCKS!!

Now to figure out if he really is that bumbling illiterate of Avon, or Christopher Marlow, THAT is the question!
Aug 14, 2015 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me three summer vacations to read all of this, going chronologically (as best we can know) through the works and alternating with chapters of Harold Bloom's _Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human_. I read from the older 1974 edition, which lacks the Funeral Elegy (which, as it turns out, is likely by John Ford, and not by Shakespeare). This was a great experience; there are many hidden treasures among the lesser known plays, and those I was most familiar with gained by being read in pr ...more
Bret James Stewart
Oceans of ink have been written about Shakespeare's works, so I see no reason to add my two pence. As to this edition, though, I have many good things to say. It is an academic edition, and I am please with the book for a number of reasons.

First off, the book is attractive and well made. The hardcover is sturdy, the interior artwork is elucidating and fun, and the complete works are included, even the ones whose canonicity are only probable.

Different scholars write the general and individual wo
Nov 13, 2008 Dan rated it really liked it
Shelves: theatre-plays
I won't say I've read all the entire book (I'm leaving King John and Henry VI for some time later)--but I think I've read enough to comment on it. A good edition of Shakespeare, with a general introduction, textual notes, and illustrations (including coloured plates).

Here's my review of Hamlet:
The hero wears black, is a university student, writes poetry, studies philosophy at university. He's got a thing going with Ophelia. Horatio has his back. Following the death of his father and the remarria
The plays I have read thus far:


Richard II 3 1/2 stars My first Shakespeare play. I liked it, but it was hard to read.

1 Henry IV 5 Stars One of my favorite Shakespeare plays. Right mix of poetry and prose, and I love the men in it!


Antony and Cleopatra 4 stars. Another of my favorites. The relationships that the reader establishes with characters in this play are intense. I also liked that the "biggest affair in all of literature" was not overly pornographic.

King Lear 3 1
Aug 01, 2010 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
This one will probably always be on my currently reading shelf. Right now I am working on scenes from Richard III and Twelfth Night and monologues from Cymbeline and Henry IV, part ii, also the sonnets. My least favorite play so far is the Merry Wives of Windsor - the opening scene makes no sense and if Shakespeare wrote it he must have been drunk.

Now I'm working on a new scene from Twelfth Night and one from All's Well That Ends Well. The latter one I have never read so more on what I think abo
Seth McGaw
Jan 23, 2012 Seth McGaw is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Half-price book store for my favorite edition of S's plays: 4 bucks. Yeah. Is it sad that this is what made my week?

The Riverside's certainly the clearest-printed I've run across, of the dozen or so well-known versions out there - and though I wish there were a few more annotations per page as far as the more obscure Elizabethan language goes, I still think this one "feels" best, with just the right amount of spacing between lines, so that it's discernible enough to be read without a magnifying
Jamie Vollrath
This will sound cliche, but I want anyone reading this to KNOW that I mean it in the most absolute, surest sense. "If I had to go to a deserted island for the rest of my life and if I was only allowed to bring one book there..." it would be this one. Period. All one needs to know about life is in this book. All of the tragedies, all of the humor, heartbreak, guilt, redemption, evil, generosity, tolerance, wisdom - all in one neat volume.
Scott Cox
This is an excellent compilation of Shakespeare's famous plays and works. Volume 1 contains introductory remarks, illustrations and maps as well as Shakespeare’s comedies and histories. Volume II contains his tragedies, romances and poems. I highly recommend purchasing additional aids (I use Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare) as a companion to help understand the milieu and language of his plays and works.
Mar 01, 2016 Libroslibra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The undergrad English major's albatross, I will forever appreciate how important the Riverside Shakespeare (I still have the edition with the brown cover) has been to my education. It's rare that a week goes by without my using it in reference to something that has little to do with literature. Then there are those times I am able to sit down and reread a favorite play...
Whitney Grady
May 19, 2014 Whitney Grady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My copy is highlighted, underlined, and covered in markings of a student exploring her love of the written word. Still, I pull my copy from the shelf and explore, re-read, and revel in the genius of Shakespeare. Every person who loves to write should also love to read and this is a must-halve for your bookshelf!
I realize that it's lazy of me to add this instead of having to think about how the individual plays (I'm in Shakespeare for the plays, not the sonnets) stack up against each other, but I have to add this if for no other reason than that it is one of the very few books in my personal library that has survived every single one of my residential relocations since college, which I think is about 15-20 moves and a total of more than 20,000 miles.

Also, it's a book, right? And a really great one that
Dec 01, 2010 Keeko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finished off with The life of King Henry the Eighth. I read it side by side with the Yale edition published in 1925 and edited by John M. Berdan and Tucker Brooke because I like how the Yale edition plays are published in individual 4" x 6" blue cloth-covered volumes that you can hold easily in your hands. People get all caught up in studying Shakespeare, and I think that sometimes that gets in the way of remembering that the reason he's lasted this long is because he's a wonderful storyteller. ...more
Oct 14, 2008 Lydia marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Read thus far:
The Taming of the Shrew
As You Like It
Twelfth Night
Measure for Measure
Romeo and Juliet
Julius Ceasar
The Tempest
King Lear
Various sonnets

To read:
The Comedy of Errors
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Love's Labor's Lost
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Much Ado About Nothing (seen)
Troilus and Cressida
All's Well That Ends Well
Henry VI: 1, 2, 3
Richard III (seen)
King John
Richard II
Henry IV: 1, 2
Henry V
Henry VIII
Titus Andronicus
Antony and Cleopatra (seen)
Timon of Athens
Jan 24, 2016 Tenno rated it really liked it
Everyone loves Shakespeare. But his plays should be performed not read. I would give almost every play five stars, as long as you see it performed well.
The four-star rating is cumulative. I read this for a class at Bob Jones with Dr. Caren Silvester. We read Twelfth Night, All's Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, The Winter's Tale, The Tempest, and Troilus and Cressida.

The plays I enjoyed the most were The Winter's Tale, All's Well that Ends Well, The Tempest, King Lear, and Twelfth Night. Measure for Measure and Othello were pretty good.

I read The Tempest and King Lear for prelims (Apri
Jul 15, 2009 Jake rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since junior year of college this has been my indispensable tool for reading and understanding Shakespeare. All the plays, all the poetry, plus helpful archaism-deciphering footnotes.

If there is one part of this volume I haven't valued, it's the articles preceding each play. I can't say they are useless; they just haven't been of any use to me. There may be other complete works of Shakespeare available, but this one has assured I always have a scholarly edition at hand to read and study. Don't r
Sep 13, 2007 Stacey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not trying to show off here, but I have literally read everything that Shakespeare wrote because a) I'm an English teacher, b) I'm a theatre dork, and c)I was like a total stalker for the stuff in college and read it for fun because I'm just that lame. Of course I like some of it better than others, but there's a reason the man is so famous. Favorite comedies: Midsummer Night's Dream, Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, Merchant of Venice (in that order). Favorite tragedies: Hamlet, ...more
May 22, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's all here in one big beautiful book. I love Shakespeare and like to pick this up and read from it. It's also nice to have the complete works in one place--easy to look things up if you are a stickler for Shakespeare "trivia" or want to know if something is being done accurately. I got this for an undergrad class and am so happy to have it (although I know mine is an earlier edition as this was published in 1997 and the class would have been earlier than that). Finally got rid of all my littl ...more
Simon Rindy
Feb 27, 2008 Simon Rindy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: personal-library
Recently read:
Hamlet (January/February 2008)--fifth reading--This time around Elsinore, Gertrude is a stupid cow and that Ophelia was fortunate she never had to have Gertie as her mother-in-law. Gert's just oblivious to so many things. Ophelia is obedient, but at least (and tragically) knows what's what. As I get older, I lose respect/adoration/sympathy for Hamlet the Junior.

Titus Andronicus (January/February 2008)--first & second reading--Too much maligned and underrated. Now ranks as one o
Nathan Sweeton
Jan 23, 2008 Nathan Sweeton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: you nutty bibliophiles who can't imagine the world without another volume of Shakespeare plays
Recommended to Nathan by: Evan Lamb, a nutty bibliophile
A Shakespeare play is only as good as its edition. Fortunately, the Riverside Shakespeare maximizes the positive qualities of both the second (good) quarto and the first folio, borrowing the best elements from both versions of the play to create a new authoritative edition. The introductions to the plays, as well as the footnotes and endnotes, are both insightful and delightful to study. If you love Shakespeare or Shagspear, Shaksper, whatever you want to call him (he wasn't very particular), th ...more
Mar 14, 2009 Evan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't imagine how much this incredible volume must cost poor college kids nowadays at their textbook stores. This was the compilation we used back at Marquette in the 1980s; I still have my hardcover edition---bigger than the city phone book---always at the ready. An amazing work of scholarship, annotation, etc. No, I have not read all the plays and poems, far from it. But there is not category for "partially read" is there? The pages are so delicate and thin, and still the thing is huge. The ...more
Jun 03, 2013 Tiffany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare
Altogether too big a book to lug around and too nice a book to make notes in the margins. I prefer the Signet editions of Shakespeare's plays for both those reasons and also because the littler books are accompanied by learned essays from the most famous commentators in the 400 years since Shakespeare's death. And because text explication is included at the bottom of each page. As a person who reads footnotes I don't want to be constantly flipping to the back of the book. Too fatiguing.

Looks gre
Shakespeare class in college
Anthony Zupancic
My introduction to Shakes.
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  • Shakespeare A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Plays, His Poems, His Life and Times, and More
  • The Riverside Chaucer
  • The Complete Poems and Major Prose
  • The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends
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  • The Riverside Milton
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  • The Raven and the Reindeer
  • Hamlet in Purgatory
  • The Complete Plays
  • The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Package 2: Volumes C, D, and E
  • Shakespeare's Bawdy
  • The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 1: The Middle Ages through the Restoration & the Eighteenth Century
  • The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces
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  • 27 Wagons Full of Cotton and Other Plays
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
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