Peter Levi

Something Useful in the New Shakespeare

The Oxford Shakespeare

By

OUP 1432pp £29.50 order from our bookshop

The formidable bulk of the new Oxford Shakespeare invites mockery, and the long time that elapsed between the publication of Volume One (the modernised text without a commentary), Volume Two (the text unmodernised but still without a commentary) which followed within months, and now the long promised third volume which has just appeared, invites suspicion and beady-eyed examination. The commentary is absolutely necessary, not only because a lot of Shakespeare is hard to understand, but because the choices made by the editors need to be defended step by step if we arc going to begin to trust their text. To this extent, the reviewers who greeted Volume One on its own with ritual salutes of praise must be considered to be charlatans.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Why did the 'bold and determined' Empress Matilda never manage to become Queen regnant? Peter Marshall reviews a n… ,
    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,