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Annotated Shakespeare Rec's?

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Does anyone have a well thought of annotated Shakespeare to recommend? This is for me, and I have no history in Shakespeare at all, but would like to get more comfortable with it. I was thinking an annotated version might be the way to go (I don't have a preference on what play...maybe a comedy to start with?) but if there's another way to start on it, feel free to bring up those ideas as well.



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My favorite way to introduce "real Shakespeare" is for kids to listen to an audio version produced by Arkangel (available on Audible and at most libraries, too) - it SOUNDS like a movie. When kids follow along in a foot-noted text (my personal favorite is Riverside, but there are lots and lots of good ones - kids often like No Fear parallel versions), the combo is MAGICAL for getting the story across. 


We stop the recording often, talk about it, just play with it - no grade, no deep analysis, just a fun & interesting "intro trip" through a play or two. 

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My favorite way to read Shakespeare. 

Go to the library and find an interesting looking BBC production.  I think bad acting in a BBC Shakespeare must be a hanging offense, because it is universally awesome.  

Go to the stacks and find the version of the play with the most footnotes.   

Go home and watch/read while alone.   Read a little, watch a little, read a little, repeat. Read all the footnotes.  There is a ton of hilarious stuff that you totally miss if you don't know the info in the footnotes.    


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I have a couple from a series called The Annotated Shakespeare that I like. I also have a couple of the Ignatius Critical Editions that I like as well.


But for kids, especially pre-high school, I really really like the Oxford School editions. Very nice font and page layout, with archaic words and phrases defined in the margins next to the text. It has some background information of interest to students but not the more scholarly introductions and critical essays found in some other texts.

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Shakespeare's plays were meant to be watched!! If Shakespeare feels foreign to you, I would watch classic movie versions of the plays and then read the texts. (If you have a sense of the story before diving into the actual text, I think it will all seem a lot easier and less intimidating!) Audiobook versions are also a great starting point. Heck, even storybook versions of the plays (intended for children) could be helpful. 


Also, the Riverside Shakespeare is a wonderful resource! It contains ALL of Shakespeare's work. I used it in college as a literature major and it's still my go-to. (It is a huge book, but a good one!) 

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