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TOPIC: Royal Shakespeare Company edition

Royal Shakespeare Company edition 9 years 6 months ago #544

  • William Shakespeare
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First edition published April 2007

Editors: Jonathan Bate, Eric Rasmussen

Published by the Modern Library

http://www.therscshakespeare.com

Download a PDF of Jonathan Bates' Case for the Folio from our document repository by clicking here.
Last Edit: 9 years 1 month ago by William Shakespeare.
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Royal Shakespeare Company edition 8 years 8 months ago #1648

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I really liked reading Jonathan Bates' essay. He makes a compelling case for a folio-only based edition. What is the opinion of those on this board regarding the new Royal Shakespeare Company edition?
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Royal Shakespeare Company edition 8 years 8 months ago #1651

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Last Edit: 5 years 1 month ago by William Shakespeare. Reason: Updated URL
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Royal Shakespeare Company edition 8 years 8 months ago #1659

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From the review: "The physical edition itself is quite readable, due in large part to the editors' decision to eschew the usual double-column format and instead use the full breadth of the page, which means that each line of verse has all the space it needs. The pages thus avoid the "busy" look that characterizes other editions (like the Riverside edition, for instance) and the type appears to my eyes to be comparable in size and legibility. This does push the page count up, however—nearly 2500, as against the Riverside's 1900—and the publisher compensates by using a thinness of paper that seems a little flimsy. I fear that the volume may not stand up as well to the daily wear and tear of use over time...."

I received my copy of the RSC Shakespeare in the mail today, and I could not be more disappointed. Not by the scholarship, which is first-rate and what prompted me to get the book in the first place. It's the printing. The reviewer notes that the pages are thin: the pages are so thin that there is incredible bleed through of the text, especially when there is a picture or diagram on the next page. Ironically, this might not have been quite so noticable if a double-column format had been used. Additionally, the paper isn't very smooth, and feels cheap. The Modern Library did the editors and the Royal Shakespeare Company a great disservice. Hardly a keepsake edition (unlike the similarly priced -- and much more asthetically pleasing -- 2002 Pelican, which also comes with a ribbon marker). Come Monday morning, I'm sending it back to the seller for a full refund. Caveat Emptor.
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Royal Shakespeare Company edition 8 years 8 months ago #1660

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I personally made the same observation Julian did about the thinness of the pages. Yes, it's a tradeoff. If you want a quality piece of work based solely on FF, then your options are somewhat limited and the RSC is really great in that area. Unfortunately, there's an attention to detail that seems to be lacking on the publisher's end. If all the RSC actors are using this book, how are they using it? Can an actor write in it repeatedly and expect it to hold up season after season with all the usual abuse? I think the "practical" aspects that it's the "gold standard" for all their productions & actors don't quite measure up...unless, of course, there's a special edition of this book just for them...
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Royal Shakespeare Company edition 8 years 8 months ago #1661

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Well, different strokes, I guess. I thought it was a very nicely put together volume, containing some good and methodical info on each play that comes in handy. Of course, I don't plan to use it daily, exactly, as I'm quite sure I will still prefer my Arden editions.

I think there are good arguments for both the Folio editions and the Quartos. I still prefer a conflation of the best parts of both. But, many of the plays are only available in the First Folio, so... I have come to believe, of late, that many, probably most, of the Folio plays are (Shakespeare's own) revised editions of the originally written plays. Because I find that early plays like for instance Titus Andronicus and The Taming of the Shrew are essentially "too perfect" to have appeared this way so early in WS' career. So in light of this I have perhaps come to appreciate, overall, the Folio versions a bit more than I used to. I tend to be somewhat skeptical of Bates' enthusiastic preference for the Folio versions over the Quartos, because I also think the best Quarto editions are Shakespeare's own revisions, in a few but important cases superior to the Folio versions. Another reason I distrust Bates' Folio preference is that it's based on perceiving the plays primarily as theater, whereas I, knowing full well that I'm in the minority, prefer perceiving the plays as literature.
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Royal Shakespeare Company edition 8 years 7 months ago #1662

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I probably should have mentioned that the edition of this book I'm referring to is the one published in the States by Modern Library. I am told that the English publisher Macmillan has done a much better job bringing Shakespeare's Complete Works to press, using thicker, better quality paper with much less bleed through. I've also found out that Modern Library is notorious for cheaply printing classic works. What a shame that the RSC didn't go with a better imprint in the USA.
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Royal Shakespeare Company edition 8 years 7 months ago #1693

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It should also be noted that Modern Library is coming out with individual editions of the RSC series this summer...

Richard III on Amazon

At $5.95, I don't think I've seen a cheaper single play edition.

And just noticed the paperback version that should be out in a few months...

RSC in Paperback
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Royal Shakespeare Company edition 8 years 7 months ago #1698

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paulrobertwagner wrote:
I probably should have mentioned that the edition of this book I'm referring to is the one published in the States by Modern Library. I am told that the English publisher Macmillan has done a much better job bringing Shakespeare's Complete Works to press, using thicker, better quality paper with much less bleed through.

Ah, yes, that would explain part of our different experiences. Being in Europe, I got the British version.
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Royal Shakespeare Company edition 8 years 7 months ago #1740

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Ah, yes, that would explain part of our different experiences. Being in Europe, I got the British version.

Good news -- I was able to order the British version from The Book Depository in the U.K. for about $40.00 with free international shipping. I received it yesterday, and I am delighted. Published by Palgrave Macmillan, it is a far better edition than its Modern Library counterpart. The paper is of much higher quality, the pages a pleasure to read (with very little "see through"), and it even has two ribbon markers, whereas the American copy has none. If you plan on getting The Royal Shakespeare Company's edition of Shakespeare's Complete Works, the British version is definitely the one to get!
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