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The Poetry of Shakespeare

The Poetry of Shakespeare

Written by William Shakespeare

Narrated by John Gielgud


The Poetry of Shakespeare

Written by William Shakespeare

Narrated by John Gielgud

ratings:
4.5/5 (33 ratings)
Length:
41 minutes
Released:
Jan 1, 2011
ISBN:
9781907818783
Format:
Audiobook

Description

A collection of Shakespeare's poetry including A Lover's Complaint, The Passionate Pilgrim, and a selection from The Sonnets. Read by Sir John Gielgud, Dame Edith Evans, Robert Donat, Anthony Quayle and Claire Bloom.
Released:
Jan 1, 2011
ISBN:
9781907818783
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on England’s Avon River. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children—an older daughter Susanna and twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright and poet, but also as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Although some think that sometime between 1610 and 1613 Shakespeare retired from the theater and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616, others believe that he may have continued to work in London until close to his death.

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What people think about The Poetry of Shakespeare

4.5
33 ratings / 26 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Fourth book of the readathon. Read in snatches during a car journey and between acts in a concert! Which is probably not the best way to experience Shakespeare, laying aside the issue that I think the best way to experience it is by watching it, but I enjoyed it. I've always rather liked Cordelia, with her steadfast truthfulness, and I do remember some very vivid mental images regarding eyes being put out when, at the age of nine, I read a children's version of the story.

    And of course, Shakespeare's use of language, his sense of timing, his grasp of what will look good on stage -- that's as expected: he was a master.
  • (5/5)
    Teaching it for the second time. The Folger edition is okay, but it badly needs to be updated; and the illustrations in the facing page are, to my mind, badly chosen, unless they're meant only to promote the grandeur of the Folger library. I think they would have done much better to provide photos of scenes taken from various productions/films/adaptations of Lear; no doubt the students would pay more attention to such things, to say nothing of nonexpert instructors like me.

    Oh, the play: certainly very good at cutting the legs out from under the notion that suffering can be redemptive. Lear discovers compassion and love, Gloucester grows up, but what do they get? Death. And what are we left with? The two appalling milquetoast prigs, Albany and Edgar,* perhaps the two characters in Lear who understand least well what the whole thing is about. At least Kent has the grace to go off and wait to die.

    * Hilarious: I just googled these names and the second hit is some plagiarism mill that's selling an essay that reads "Albany and Edgar both possess honest and kind characters." You have got to be kidding me! Please, please, please let someone try to get this paper past me. How stupid or desperate would someone have to be to pay for a paper that's, at best, a B-?
  • (5/5)
    My absolute favorite Shakespeare play. Extra love for the fact that this came up when I searched for Stephen King.
  • (5/5)
    Perhaps the best of Shakespeare's plays. I have read this one a few times and it is a play to which I can return and return. I say "perhaps" Shakespeare's best only because I truly love several of his plays and whore-about in my preference, tossing my Willy-love hither and yon to any Dark Prince that may happen past. Ah love! 'Tis a fickle mistress.
  • (5/5)
    I don’t really know what to say about King Lear, or anything by Shakespeare, really. A summary would be redundant and out of place. So would gushing about the stunning beauty of the poetry, or how this is some of the greatest writing in the history of the English language, or any language.Only one thing comes to mind when I think of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. Think what you will of Harold Bloom (and there are certainly many opinions about him), I always think, more than anything else, of the title of his book of essays on the plays: “Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human.” Is the title a typically hyperbolic publishing stunt? The more I read and re-read the plays, the less I’m starting to think so. Words simply fail me. They really do. The wonderful things about Modern Library/RSC edition are the introduction, critically informed notes on the text, folio notes, and a sizeable section on historically important performances of “King Lear.” These do a superb job of contextualizing the play, especially in how it performed on stage.
  • (5/5)
    Where is the 6th star, or even up to the 101st? Most likely the best English language play ever written, with one of the most phenomenal characters ever created. Hundreds of years before neural imaging began (like, last Tuesday,) to reveal the importance of intrinsic and extrinsic networks on behavior, the different tendencies between men and women and between man and man, the pyramidical, male-dominated social structures our species has tended to create over the last 10,000 years or so, Shakespeare intuited so, so much. From the start, where nothing will come from nothing, (a pun on 'noting' or social mores which, perhaps, the Bard intended in a more comprehensive way,) to Lear's failed, heartbreaking attempt to return to and save something greater than himself, it's a devastating, crystal clear work. We should use our tongues and eyes to crack heaven's gate, but we don't. A lifetime of careful observation, a brilliant mind, and a one-in-a-billion talent for prosody concentrated into a few hours.
  • (5/5)
    There's probably nothing more I can say about this book, since it's been studied for a long time. But although this was a school book, for my Independent Oral Commentary, I really grew to love this book. Shakespeare's mastery of the English language is obvious here. From the truncated but meaningful dialogue, with the most famous probably being "Nothing my Lord". These three words manage to express love, and I have the utmost respect for Shakespeare for writing this. Even after our IOC, we are still influenced by this wonderful play. One friend proceeded to enact the storm scene in the rain (from sheer joy), and this was one of the most quoted books in our inscriptions to our Teacher on Teacher's Day. I could go on and on, but "no, let me shun that. That way madness lies" (Too much of a good thing can be bad after all)
  • (3/5)
    Not one of my favorites by Shakespeare. The language, as always, is beautiful but the plot seems too thin, convoluted and unbelievable for me to really appreciate. I haven't actually seen this play on the stage. Maybe I would enjoy it more in that context.
  • (5/5)
    If I could only recommend one Shakespeare Play it would be King Lear.
  • (5/5)
    This is my favorite of all of Shakespeare's works. Blood, death, and treachery. Who could ask for more!
  • (5/5)
    The proud King Lear disowns his most dutiful daughter and is consequently betrayed by his other two. A bastard son betrays both his brother and father out of jealousy and malice. I think it is the saddest of his tragedies, and it moves very quickly to me (though not as quickly as Macbeth). It is also really one of the most profound expressions of human suffering ever written in the English language. The play sees deeply into the soul, and so I would often linger a bit on a line or speech with a quiet awe. The actions pierce its characters with a sad, penetrating irony. The eyes will eventually see in their blindness. The heart bleeds and the storm rages. It is depressing, yes. But in all, as depraved as its villains are, I also read in King Lear what is very beautiful about humanity and kinship, however frail it may appear teetering on the edge of a cliff: compassion, loyalty, charity, and mercy.
  • (5/5)
    Took me awhile to read this book due to life taking over my reading time. I also just wasn't interested in reading the play for awhile. The Tragedy of King Lear is a well written play by William Shakespeare. I have only read one other work by Shakespeare and that is Romeo and Juliet. I enjoyed the story of King Lear, I just wish I had a better understanding of his English writing to fully understand Shakespeare's works.
  • (4/5)
    What can I say about Shakespeare. He wrote a tragedy and I lived it through this book. Though reading such complicated manner of writing was a difficult task, I did not disturb my understanding of the story line. Since it is a tragedy, I was not a surprise to me that people died at the end, but the reason for which they died made me almost cry. One of the main themes of this tragedy is the bond between a father and a his offspring: King Lear and his daughters and Gloucester and his sons. Honesty and betrayal play an important role in the plot. I was socked by the behavior of the two daughters towards their father. They were mean to his just so they can get his kingdom. Although, Lear only wanted their love. I was a good read for sure and I can't wait until I will be able to discuss it with my classmates.
  • (4/5)
    King Lear decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters based on how clearly they express their love for him with words and flattery. Cordelia, who loves him best, refuses to participate in the charade, because her actions over the years should be testament enough. Because of this Lear gives his other two selfish daughters his entire kingdom. They quickly strip him of power and he realizes his mistake, but it's too late to avoid the horrible consequences. This is a tragedy in every possibly way. The characters make horrible decisions, which lead to their inevitable downfall. The thing I found fascinating about this play is the family dynamics. Relationships between a father and his daughters, sisters, brothers, a father and his sons; these are the real heartbeat of the story. More than Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet or Othello, King Lear dives deep into families and wonders why we do these things to the people we're suppose to love.
  • (5/5)
    Its Shakespeare! What more do you want me to say. He's wonderful!
  • (2/5)
    After all these years, I still cannot understand Shakespeare. I read every single word. The Fool made me laugh out loud exactly twice. I give it three stars because I'm sure it's great, but I just don't get it.
  • (3/5)
    This play was discussed by the Great Books KC group of which I am a member. We also watched the movie "A Thousand Acres" to see another version of the plot. This story becomes more harrowing the older one becomes. It's a reminder that one's children don't always remain loyal. But then again, some parents do bad things or make unwise choices.
  • (4/5)
    I recently read this for the Shakespeare module on my degree, and was a little disappointed. Having been told it was the Bard's masterpiece, I perhaps came to it with rather high expectations, but then doesn't everyone with Shakespeare? In my own opinion I feel that it falls short of Hamlet, though is superior to Othello, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare's line-up of 'famous tragedies' in terms of reading; on performance I cannot comment having seen only Hamlet and R&J. The Fool is an excellent character, and his relationship with Cordelia perhaps the most interesting in the drama. Edmond is also a good dramatic character, but the sisters Regan and Gonerill were flat. Lear's language is itself at times brilliant, but something left me wanting the dexterity of Hamlet. Cordelia is powerful in her absence, and really dominates the final act through her own speech, and that of Lear. The play is undoubtedly infused with some magical moments, but as a text to read, it does not, for me, inspire or humor as Hamlet manages.
  • (4/5)
    For some reason I was rather set against this play at the beginning. However, it had all the elements I enjoy in a story; gruesome, depressing and yet, after act two, compelling. I couldn't put it down. It's sort of the flip-side of his comedies. Lots of misunderstanding at the beginning, betrayals by the bad guys (that's not in the comedies much), lots of people running around disguised as other people, then at the end, instead of everyone forgiving everyone after all is revealed, almost everyone dies. Not quite the happy-ever-after ending of the comedies, yet in this play it worked. I'm left with one thing unsettled though, what happened to the blind Gloucester?
  • (5/5)
    Let me talk about this specific edition of the book first. I have to read this edition for my creative writing class. At first, it can be so hard to read, but once you put your heart reading it, it is an easy read. This is also because the translation of the words are on the other side of the page. Unlike the other King Lear edition where you need to go to the back of the and check what those words mean. It's also affordable. The play itself is really good - not too depressing or cheesy for me compare to Hamlet. Even though this is about a royal family, anyone can relate it directly or indirectly whether they have rivalry with their siblings or a loyal assistant or having problems with their parents.
  • (5/5)
    This is my favorite Shakespeare tragedy. The plot, language, and characterization show the dramatist at his mature best.
  • (5/5)
    I'm somewhat biased: Lear is my favorite play written since the time of Euripides (who wrote later than my absolute favorites Aeschylus and Sophocles).The cast and execution of the Naxos audiobook are also excellent. I would list the cast, but the combination of blurred lines between book and performance and my own laziness and busy schedule prohibit me.
  • (3/5)
    Compare to his other masterpieces, this was for me too wide in character and at the same time lacking the intimacy of baseline human feelings or experience. "Thy truth be thy dower."
  • (3/5)
    Another great tragic tale as told my Shakespeare. Like all his plays, you're able to dig deep into this story and draw out tons of stories, themes and hidden meanings out of all its layers. An enjoyable read for any Shakespeare enthusiast.
  • (5/5)
    The writer I feel most in awe of, by a mile, is Shakespeare. I'm not going to say anything much about him because it's all been said, so I'll just say he's the boss, and the play that most shocks and thrills and saddens me is King Lear. But I could almost have said exactly the same about most of the plays he wrote. Every time I experience him in performance I feel overwhelmed by his brilliance, and I just have to shut up before I get too sycophantic.
  • (5/5)
    Shakespeare, William. King Lear. University of Virginia Electronic Text Center, 15XX. This is my favorite Shakespeare play. I don't know if I would have re-read it now if I hadn't had a copy on my iPaq and needed something to read at night without disturbing Molly and Tony on our trip to Madrid. I like Lear for its apocalyptic vision and because I think the transition from one generation to the next is an interesting topic. The paper I wrote on this play in college, which compares Edgar to the Fool, is one of my favorites.