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The Complete Illustrated Shakespeare

4.49 of 5 stars 4.49  ·  rating details  ·  38,792 ratings  ·  663 reviews
The complete theatrical works of the immortal Bard, uniquely supplemented with annotations and critical analysis by a host of eminent scholars, including Samuel Coleridge and Samuel Johnson, plus a biography of Shakespeare himself. For the collection of the Shakespeare enthusiast, and the edification of the Shakespeare novice.
Published by Arno Press (first published 1623)
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Community Reviews

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I did it.

38 plays, 2 long poems, and 154 sonnets in 2462 onion-paper pages. I read them all. ALL. I think I deserve a self-congratulation for this. Yes. Good job!

It took me more than two months of intense reading that toughened my wrists and arms from reading it on the train standing, hardened my heart with stony indifference against people's perplexed and peering gazes thrown at me even to the point of leaning in from the side to see what the hell I'm reading, and made me utterly fearless again
Reflecting on the oeuvre of Shakespeare, I can’t shake a perverse idea: the Bard is underrated. And I think this feeling is tied to the contradictory knowledge that he is enormous, creating the master shadow in which all others dissolve. He’s the Platonic Form that has made possible, via subsequent authorial study and unconscious absorption, so many of the variations of what we consider the best in literature. The introspection and characterization of Woolf. The zaniness in Melville, Pynchon, an ...more
Edward III

For anyone saying, "Huh?" right now, let me say that EIII is one of the "Apocryphal Plays" that have been credited wholly or in part to Shakespeare at one time or another but that do not have conclusive proof of authorship by Big Bill Rattlepike. In the Second Edition of the Oxford Shakespeare Complete Works, the whole text of all plays the editors are convinced Shakespeare had a hand in is printed. This means that they have made the brave decision to include Edward III, convinced as t
Mar 16, 2013 midnightfaerie is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I understand now why I have such a hard time reading Shakespeare. It's not that it's hard to understand. There are enough translations and self help guides to get you through the plot of any of the plays. And once I started reading and translating, I started to get the hang of it, and had fewer words and phrases that I had to look up. No, it's not that. Simply put, it's a play, and not meant to be read. I know there are some who might disagree with me, however, that's my opinion. I revel in the ...more
Have I read this book? Only part of it.

But is anyone going to argue about my rating?

What follows is little more than the GoodReads description of the edition pictured. But I feel I can do that, since I wrote the description.

This tome includes all 37 of Shakespeare's plays, as well as his poems and sonnets. It was produced "for college students in the hope that it will help them to understand, appreciate, and enjoy the works for themselves. It is not intended for the scholar ..."

Two-column format
What an exquisite edition of one of the greatest works in the Western canon. Armed with an authoritative editorial team, Professor Jonathan Bate has reworked all of Shakespeare's plays, as well as his poems. The footnotes are extensive and cover all meanings of words (including the more salacious ones that many school texts leave out), while also providing informative historical and contextual information.

This edition seeks to give us every word attributed to Shakespeare (although, as it points

There's special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all.

If readiness be all, then this volume is a staple on any bookshelf. Ready to be opened for quick quote checks, ready to be heaved at home intruders (it's really heavy), it is useful in so many ways. It stays open on the window shelf, so the afternoon breeze can choose its special pages. Additionally, there are several
Update: Seven plays into my current spree, I'm going to have to put this on hold due to a lack of time. I've now read 17 total- my most severe weakness is the histories (have only read Richard III and Henry IV). When I come back to this project, I think that I will be reading those in order.

1st: Macbeth (finished-review posted)
2nd: Two Gentlemen of Verona (finished-review posted)
3rd: King Lear (finished-review posted)
4th: Merchant of Venice (finished-review posted)
5th: Othello (finished-review p
. I've been watching the old BBC An Age of Kings. For those who don't know, this is an old BBC series of Shakespeare's history cycle from Richard II though to Richard III. It has a young Sean Connery as Hotspur and Tom Hardy as Henry V. Judi Dench is there as is Angela Baddley (Mrs. Bridges from Upstairs, Downstairs. It got me thinking about the timeless of Shakespeare.
Why does everyone on the planet read Shakespeare? Why does the Bard's work appear on stage, in film, on television? Why does his
J. Alfred
Young Frankie in Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes says that "Shakespeare is like mashed potatoes; you can never have too much." It's a compliment both to the poet and the potato, and I agree wholeheartedly. To read the ol' Swan of Avon straight through has, I believe, made me legitimately smarter, and not just in a know-more-stuff-in-my-chosen-profession sense, but in a understand-the-world-around-me sense. Eliot says that Shakespeare and Dante "divided the world between them, and there is no thir ...more
I have not finished this yet, although David gave it to me for Christmas about 15 years ago (clearly not the Kindle edition, but I can't seem to change that). Some of my favorites are Henry V, Hamlet and King Lear. I don't care so much for the comedies. I think everyone should read Shakespeare to know what good writing is, and to get an idea of the impact of human behavior for better and for worse. There are so many wonderful and relevant lines that I wish I could commit more to memory. During t ...more
Nicholas Whyte
Stephen Jannetts
Mar 15, 2008 Stephen Jannetts rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English speaking world
A wonderful collection of the complete works of Shakespeare. It differs from most other collections in that it presents his works chronologically (as accurately as possible, but scholars will never be satisfied completely) whilst most others categorise them into histories, tragedies, romances, and comedies.

The poems are presented well, but the plays aren't formatted in the most user-friendly way: the font is tiny, close together, in articles going vertically down the page with several colums on
Julie Bozza
An awesome birthday present from my darling erudite sis. ...more
Of course I loved it. I have a functional hardcover from college, this one, and miscellaneous paperbacks from high school which I suppose I could get rid of. Will is my man. This is what having a crush on your seventh-grade English teacher leads to: Bardolatry. [thanks for that word, [author:Lauren Baratz-Logsted|27212]
Ryan Evans
People always complain that the language is hard to read but, while it is easier to watch than read his works, the effort is worth the reward. The poetry and craftmanship of his words are magical. So emotive. He somehow speaks straight to the soul. Who else would be remembered so fondly after so long a time?
Steven Taylor
Seeing this when voting on the book list has inspired me to gush: Maybe I should put this under "currently reading" because I'll be reading and re-reading these my whole life. What can I say that hasn't been said already? The funniest comedies, the most passionate love stories, the most heart-wrenching tragedies. And of course, all of it in the most beautiful language ever written in English.

Tragically, so many start reading a play, get frustrated by the language and give up. I think that'

Troilus & Cresieda


The Merry Wives of Windsor




Twelfth Night


As You Like It


Julius Caesar


Henry V


Much Ado About Nothing


Henry IV, Part Two


Henry IV, Part One


The Merchant of Venice


The Life and Death of King John


A Midsummer Night's Dream


Romeo & Julliet


Richard II


Love's Labour Lost


Two Gentlemen of Verona


The Taming of the Shrew - I love this play. Maybe
Well, what can I say? I decided to begin the year by reading the complete works of the Bard. I spent nearly every day for the past two months with the Immortal Bard, tangled in the deep richness of his verse, reading all of his 37 plays (I am not counting here “The Two Noble Kinsmen,” which has only recently and contentiously been added to the Shakespearean cannon) and the entire poetry (the sonnets and minor epics). Now that I am finished I feel a plethora of emotions. First and foremost, I fee ...more
This is a behemoth of Shakespeare's works. Sonnets, dramas, comedies, histories. Everything. This is the proud tome that stays open on a bookstand, lording it over the smaller p-books. Of course, it has to sit on its own stand, as it's not built for mobility. Handy yet monstrous.

If you make it to the end, the Appendices bring a boatload of facts to the reader. Witches And Witchcraft, Tortures And Punishments, Cuckolds And Horns...Elizabethan strangeness.

Book Season = Year Round
LynAnne Smucker
Read a lot in college, seen a lot of productions of the plays, read some of the sonnets and haven't read all of his works, but then unless you are a Shakespeare scholar there are some plays that aren't the most interesting like Titus Andronicus or Trollius and Cressida.
I have a very old (1943) edition of this book, which I use mostly for reference. My edition has very little in the way of footnotes or annotation, although there is a very useful glossary of Elizabethan terms in the back. Additionally, there are indices of characters and of first lines of songs and soliloquys.

This book (at least the 1943 edition) is not for those who have to read just a play or two for class-- go pick up a Folger edition if that is the case-- or for those who are performing a pl
Reviewing this particular book properly would require over a thousand other books... It is brilliant to the point of blinding, and it is formative to the modern human mind. Harold Bloom (you, the fat, ugly, old guy that didn't dig Harry Potter all that much...) has it inventing you - the modern human - and while I have my reservations on his thesis, I apreciate the poetry of that idea.

If a literrorist had me at gunpoint saying I would be shot dead if I did not walk away from my perosnal library
Drew Butler
macbeth is a famous play by shakespear who just so happends to made romeo and juliet. The book has the original diolaoge and the same amount of tragedy and action as the original. macbeth is about a man who is feirce and intimidating. He is played off as almost indestructable. like a 1600s hericles. the story has murderers, witches and even romance. I recomend this to anyone who enjoyed the romeo and juilet movie or book.
Wonderful presentation of Shakespeare's complete body of work. What I like best about this volume is that the plays are not mixed up together like the last volume I owned. The comedies and tragedies are in separate sections, which is great, because I much prefer Shakespeare's comedies. His comedies always remind me of Woody Allen movies. He just cracks me up!
One of those books that will never finish because its depths of tenderness are inexhaustible. You can stick it forever on a shelf but its own secret life goes on even without you ever picking it up again after a brief dip into it. It's just there for you whenever you want to read it, that's all.
Artifice Magazine
This is a good edition.

My dad got it for me. It already had an inscription in it:

"Christmas Day, 1911. --Mother."

My dad wrote,

"Rebekah Gifford Silverman. 1995. --Your Father."
James Powell
I use this as a reference book. It's the one I pull off the shelf if I need to check a quote.

For the working copies, I use paperbacks that I ruin for others with my marginal notes.
Enrique Cisneros
Es un libro que HAY que tener... aunque no lo lean, apantalla a la gente que lo ve en librero!!! no me cansare de decirlo: Shakespeare esta en todas partes.
Jan Clayton
I read this in college and then have reread sections of it since them. Each time I read from the book, I get more out of it.
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Question 1 21 Oct 12, 2009 12:16PM  
  • The Complete Plays
  • Complete Works of Oscar Wilde
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  • The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 2: The Romantic Period through the Twentieth Century
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  • Jules Verne: Seven Novels
  • The Complete Plays
  • The Complete Plays
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  • The Complete Stories and Poems
  • The Complete Poems and Major Prose
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  • The Complete Stories and Poems
  • The Complete Poems and Plays, 1909-1950
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
More about William Shakespeare...
Romeo and Juliet Hamlet Macbeth A Midsummer Night's Dream Othello

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“Who knows himself a braggart, let him fear this, for it will come to pass that every braggart shall be found an ass.” 35 likes
“Would the fountain of your mind were clear again,
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