The Annotated Shakespeare series enables readers to fully understand and enjoy the plays of the world’s greatest dramatist
In this lively comedy of love and money in sixteenth-century Venice, Bassanio wants to impress the wealthy heiress Portia but lacks the necessary funds. He turns to his merchant friend, Antonio, who is forced to borrow from Shylock, a Jewish moneylender. When Antonio’s business falters, repayment becomes impossible—and by the terms of the loan agreement, Shylock is able to demand a pound of Antonio’s flesh. Portia cleverly intervenes, and all ends well (except of course for Shylock).
This fully annotated version of Merchant of Venice makes the play completely accessible to readers in the twenty-first century. Eminent linguist and translator Burton Raffel offers generous help with vocabulary, pronunciation, and prosody and provides alternative readings of phrases and lines. His on-page annotations give readers all the tools they need to comprehend the play and begin to explore its many possible interpretations.
Burton Raffel (1928–2015) was Distinguished Professor of Arts and Humanities emeritus and professor of English emeritus at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Among his many edited and translated publications are Poems and Prose from the Old English, Cligès, Lancelot, Perceval, Erec and Enide, and Yvain. Harold Bloom (1930–2019) was Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University and Berg Professor of English at New York University. His many books include The Western Canon, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, and Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds.
Selected by the Association of American University Presses as an Outstanding Book for Public and Secondary School Libraries, 2007
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