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Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare
Fully annotated, with an Introduction, by Burton Raffel
With an essay by Harold Bloom
Copyright Date: 2004
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Romeo and Juliet
    Book Description:

    Shakespeare'sRomeo and Julietis perhaps the most read and beloved of all stage works. Now the most extensively annotated version of the play to date makes it completely accessible to readers in the twenty-first century. The new edition is a rich resource for students, teachers, and the general reader.Eminent linguist and translator Burton Raffel offers generous help with vocabulary and usage of Elizabethan English, pronunciation, prosody, and alternative readings of phrases and lines. His on-page annotations provide readers with the tools they need to comprehend the play and begin to explore its many possible interpretations. This version ofRomeo and Julietis unparalleled for its thoroughness and adherence to sound linguistic principles.In his introduction, Raffel provides historical and social contexts that increase the reader's understanding of the play. And in a concluding essay, Harold Bloom argues thatRomeo and Julietis unmatched in the world's literature "as a vision of an uncompromising love that perishes of its own idealism and intensity."

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13828-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xxviii)

    A far more complex drama than it is sometimes thought,Romeo and Juliet(1595?) takes its basic story line from Arthur Brooke’s long narrative poem,The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet(1562). Shakespeare could not have taken much else: Brooke’s poem is written in one of the dullest verse forms in English literary history, Poulter’s Measure, being rhymed couplets of alternating hexameter and septameter length. TheTragical Historymakes soporific reading. Yet the source of a plot is no more than a beginning; Shakespeare almost invariably worked from borrowed plots. He could have taken this story line from...

  5. Romeo and Juliet
    (pp. 1-194)

    ChorusTwo households, both alike in dignity,²

    In fair³ Verona, where we lay our scene,⁴

    From ancient grudge,⁵ break to new mutiny,⁶

    Where civil⁷ blood makes civil⁸ hands unclean.⁹

    From forth10the fatal11loins of these two foes12

    A pair of star-crossed13lovers take14their life,

    Whose misadventured15piteous overthrows16

    Doth with their death bury17their parents’ strife.

    The fearful18passage19of their death-marked love,

    And the continuance of their parents’ rage,

    Which, but20their children’s end, naught21could remove,

    Is now the two hours’ traffic22of our stage,

    The which if you with patient ears attend,23

    What here shall...

    (pp. 195-214)

    Shakespeare’s first authentic tragedy has sometimes been critically undervalued, perhaps because of its popularity. ThoughRomeo and Julietis a triumph of dramatic lyricism, its tragic ending usurps most other aspects of the play and abandons us to unhappy estimates of whether, and to what degree, its young lovers are responsible for their own catastrophe. Harold Goddard lamented that the Prologue’s “A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life” had “surrendered this drama to the astrologers,” though more than the stars in their courses are to blame for the destruction of the superb Juliet. Alas, half a century after Goddard,...

    (pp. 215-220)
    (pp. 221-222)