I had originally started out with the complete works volumes you see to the right of them. They didn’t include any introductions, essays, or, even more important, there weren’t any annotations. And the size 4 font made reading them less than a pleasure.
Thankfully, the course I was watching by Professor Marc C. Conner, Ph.D. provided a list of editions that would be of use. From the massive Complete Works editions to, as he called it, “more curl-up-able” single volumes.
I had a hard time choosing between the Folger Shakespeare Library editions or the Arden. The Folger editions feature an introduction and an essay pertaining to the play as well as detailed notes and annotations.
What I especially love is that the annotations are printed on the page opposite of the play text. This makes for very easy reading if one feels they understand what was going on in the play.
Why I ultimately chose the Arden editions is the amount of scholarly texts and essays that are included in the editions. From pieces discussing the history of the events of the play, to essays discussing the characters and their driving forces, to a selection of famous performances.
What I loved about the Folger and was almost a deal breaker for me with the Arden was the annotations being printed below the play text. The annotations are so in depth for some plays that they take up most of the room on the page leaving space for only a small amount of play text. The sheer amount of content in the volumes quickly made me overcome this obstacle though.
I *love* collecting things. For me the challenge of finding what I’m looking for is equal to the joy of actually owning them. And so the search begins. The Arden cannot be found new in stores in my area. I have found some at a used book store and have been carefully combing through the ones they have for the least damaged editions. The rest I am going to have to acquire online from Amazon or Indigo.
This will be over quite a period of time which suits my purposes as I’m unsure how much time I will be spending with each play. There are quite a few I am very familiar with having both seen the plays and read them as well. I am looking forward to reading the essays and scholarly pieces on those plays and perhaps picking up information I have missed in the past. The Arden editions shall be my primary resource for my challenge.