Book Review: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

By now, regular readers will have gotten wind that I’m a Shakespeare tragic. Combine this with my love of collecting beautiful books, and you get this:

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare is an elegant edition boasting the entire credited catalogue of William Shakespeare including 16 comedies, 10 histories, 12 tragedies, as well as all of his poems and sonnets.

Be still my beating heart. This book is indeed beautiful, but even better, it has all of Shakespeare’s work, and while it’s far from compact and not even a little bit portable, it has presence: a stately hardcover, elegant end papers, and a thick ribbon bookmark (trust me – these things matter to a book collector). The text is presented in the traditional two column format which appeals to the traditionalist in me. There’s a short introduction at the front and a short life and times of Shakespeare at the back, but other than this, it’s all Shakespeare, not someone else’s reinterpretation, not a whole heap of ‘translated’ meanings, and no deconstructed text analysis – just The Bard, in his own words, as they were always intended to be appreciated.

Now, clearly, I’m not going to sit down and read this book from cover to cover and review it in the usual way. This is more of a dip in and dip out kind of book, so I thought I’d just tell you all about the edition itself, just in case you were thinking about acquiring a collection of Shakespeare for yourself or to give as a literary gift. I highly recommend this one from an aesthetic point of view. And besides, Shakespeare is above review – his work speaks for itself.

‘But Shakespeare does not simply deliver eternal truths from on high, despite being the most quoted poet in history. His writing is like one side in the best imaginable conversation. To access the riches in Shakespeare’s writing, readers, performers, and audiences need to bring their own experience and their own imaginations to bear, to converse with what they see and hear. The works then come alive, in different ways in different places and times, but always with the potential for astonishing creativity.’ – Introduction by John Lotherington


Thanks is extended to The Quarto Group (via Allen & Unwin) for providing me with a copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare for review.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
Published by The Quarto Group – Rock Point
Released 1st October 2019
Buy from Booktopia

22 thoughts on “Book Review: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

  1. It’s definitely a beautiful edition. I have a hardcover edition of Shakespeare’s works too, but the print is so small! I was thinking it would be nice to have a set of individual titles – beautifully bound of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How lovely! What size is the font? I have a complete Shakespeare but the font is too small for me to read it in bed. I think I”ll have to order this one and pass the one I have on. I”ve just watched the first couple of acts of Hamlet, BBC production, 2009; in modern dress, but it’s holding me because the poetry is there, the words are projected clearly; though i get a bit irritated by Tennant’s mannerisms!!\

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful collection to have. If you are ever in the UK, I hope you would have time to visit Stratford Upon Avon and see a performance from the RSC. I try to see something there every year, and it is a great experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, how beautiful! We already have two hardcover Collected Works in our house, both beautiful and both inherited from grandparents, so neither of us can bear to part with them 😅 but this one looks gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s