Baff's Reviews > The Norton Shakespeare

The Norton Shakespeare by William Shakespeare
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Jan 09, 09


I have a hypothesis about Shakespeare that may be untestable in this life. My hypothesis is that, in order to understand Shakespeare, you must enjoy him. Backward, huh? Yet, it seems that this reality comes out when you speak with people who like to read this stuff. In any case, the Norton is a very good resource/doorstop to have in your library. Although my scholarship is exceeding feeble, I sometimes disagree with the editor's commentary on certain words. His definitions just don't seem to fit the context sometimes, yaknow? For example, at the opening of Julius Caesar, when the cobbler says to Marullus, "Truly, sir, in respect of a fine workman, I am but, as you would say, a cobbler." Greenblatt says he means, "in COMPARISON WITH a fine workman..." While I think the context renders the meaning, "DRESSED AS a workman, I am but..." Since Marullus has just asked the cobbler about his clothes, this seems a much better interpretation of the phrase, "in respect of," to me. It is only fair to note that Stephen Greenblatt is a fairly prestigious Shakespeare scholar. So take my word games with a grain of salt (raised to Caesar, no doubt).
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§-- I think you'll find this principle is true in other parts of life--the best teachers are always the ones you like personally; you remember the names of people you like better than those you don't, and so on.


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