Cover image for Much ado about nothing
Much ado about nothing
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Uniform Title:
Much ado about nothing
Publication Information:
New York : Caedmon Audio, 1996.
Physical Description:
2 audio discs (2 hrs., 15 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Recorded in 1963 ; unabridged.

Compact disc (ADD).

Notes on container liner.
Format :
Audiobook on CD


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Material Type
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Item Holds
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
XX(1072748.1) V.2 Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

On Order



"Sigh no more ladies, sigh no more "

Features a unique cover illustration by Maurice Sendak ( Where the WildThings Are ), specially commissioned for the Shakespeare on Compact Discseries. An introductory essay by Harvard scholar Harold Bloom accompanies the CD.

Author Notes

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School.

At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry.

By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true.

Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play.

Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

This entry in the Manga Shakespeare line satisfies many iconographic and aesthetic requirements while repackaging this comedy, which plays on deception's role in romance. At some important points, visual expression really does matter for communicating plot content, and all along the way, the costumed manga characters, sliced panels, and perspectives help to create and sustain mood. As most of the text is taken whole from Shakespeare, it helps to hear the phrasing aloud, which is a very atypical way to access manga. A suitable choice as a supplement to Shakespeare studies.--Goldsmith, Francisca Copyright 2009 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-These books depict Shakespeare's plays through black-and-white paneled storytelling. Much Ado is set in Italy during the late 1800s, using Victorian clothing to set the scene. Vieceli uses different styles of manga art with great effect, from "chibi" or "super-deformed" characters to show excessive cuteness or childish banter to the dramatic, overflowing tears that exaggerate a character's grief. This play is an excellent choice for adaptation, given its comedic moments and over-the-top emotions, and Appignanesi adapts it beautifully. King Lear is more challenging to convert to the style, made no less so by the choice of setting: the North American frontier, with Lear himself cast as an Algonquin chief. The traitorous Edmund is cast as one of the few African Americans. He is more sympathetic than in other productions, but he remains a villain. Ilya works hard to wrap real historical and cultural details into the panels, attempting authenticity instead of stereotypical images that too often accompany Native Americans in comics. However, there are some questions about the accuracy of the appearance of the fools particularly; they are costumed as "clowns," one with a vaguely Southwestern appearance and the other wearing the entire hide of a wolf. In addition, Ilya places some gratuitous nudity and cleavage into the script, and the depiction of Lear's daughter Regan as sometimes pale and sometimes dark-skinned is confusing. Still, both books are likely to draw manga readers further into Shakespeare's plays, and students of the Bard may get new ideas about how his works can be presented to modern audiences.-Alana Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One List of Parts DON PEDRO, Prince of Aragon BENEDICK, a lord from Padua companions to Don Pedro CLAUDIO, a lord from Florence BALTHASAR, a singer, attendant upon Don Pedro A BOY, servant to Benedick DON JOHN, illegitimate brother of Don Pedro BORACHIO followers of CONRAD Don John LEONATO, governor of Messina innogen, his silent wife HERO, his daughter BEATRICE, his niece, an orphan ANTONIO, an old man, brother of Leonato MARGARET gentlewomen URSULA attendant upon Hero FRIAR FRANCIS DOGBERRY, Constable in charge of the Watch VERGES, Headborough accompanying Dogberry A SEXTON WATCHMEN Attendants and Messengers Act 1 Scene 1 running scene 1 Enter Leonato Governor of Messina, Innogen his wife, Hero his daughter and Beatrice his niece, with a Messenger LEONATO I learn in this letter that Don Peter of Aragon comes this night to Messina. Shows a letter MESSENGER He is very near by this: he was not three leagues off when I left him. LEONATO How many gentlemen have you lost in this action? MESSENGER But few of any sort, and none of name. LEONATO A victory is twice itself when the achiever brings home full numbers. I find here that Don Peter hath bestowed much honour on a young Florentine called Claudio. MESSENGER Much deserved on his part and equally remem-bered by Don Pedro. He hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age, doing in the figure of a lamb the feats of a lion. He hath indeed better bettered expectation than you must expect of me to tell you how. LEONATO He hath an uncle here in Messina will be very much glad of it. MESSENGER I have already delivered him letters, and there appears much joy in him, even so much that joy could not show itself modest enough without a badge of bitterness. LEONATO Did he break out into tears? MESSENGER In great measure. LEONATO A kind overflow of kindness. There are no faces truer than those that are so washed. How much better is it to weep at joy than to joy at weeping! BEATRICE I pray you, is Signior Mountanto returned from the wars or no? MESSENGER I know none of that name, lady: there was none such in the army of any sort. LEONATO What is he that you ask for, niece? HERO My cousin means Signior Benedick of Padua. MESSENGER O, he's returned, and as pleasant as ever he was. BEATRICE He set up his bills here in Messina and challenged Cupid at the flight: and my uncle's fool, reading the challenge, subscribed for Cupid and challenged him at the bird-bolt. I pray you, how many hath he killed and eaten in these wars? But how many hath he killed? For indeed I promised to eat all of his killing. LEONATO Faith, niece, you tax Signior Benedick too much, but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it not. MESSENGER He hath done good service, lady, in these wars. BEATRICE You had musty victual and he hath holp to eat it: he's a very valiant trencherman, he hath an excellent stomach. MESSENGER And a good soldier too, lady. BEATRICE And a good soldier to a lady. But what is he to a lord? MESSENGER A lord to a lord, a man to a man, stuffed with all honourable virtues. BEATRICE It is so indeed, he is no less than a stuffed man. But for the stuffing -- well, we are all mortal. LEONATO You must not, sir, mistake my niece. There is a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her: they never meet but there's a skirmish of wit between them. BEATRICE Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our last conflict four of his five wits went halting off, and now is the whole man governed with one: so that if he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him bear it for a difference between himself and his horse, for it is all the wealth that he hath left to be known a reasonable creature. Who is his companion now? He hath every month a new sworn brother. MESSENGER Is't possible? BEATRICE Very easily possible: he wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat -- it ever changes with the next block. MESSENGER I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your books. BEATRICE No. An he were, I would burn my study. But I pray you, who is his companion? Is there no young squarer now that will make a voyage with him to the devil? MESSENGER He is most in the company of the right noble Claudio. BEATRICE O lord, he will hang upon him like a disease: he is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs presently mad. God help the noble Claudio. If he have caught the Benedick, it will cost him a thousand pound ere he be cured. MESSENGER I will hold friends with you, lady. BEATRICE Do, good friend. LEONATO You'll ne'er run mad, niece. BEATRICE No, not till a hot January. MESSENGER Don Pedro is approached. Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, Balthasar and John the bastard DON PEDRO Good Signior Leonato, are you come to meet your trouble? The fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it. LEONATO Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your grace, for trouble being gone, comfort should remain. But when you depart from me, sorrow abides and happiness takes his leave. DON PEDRO You embrace your charge too willingly. I think this is your daughter. LEONATO Her mother hath many times told me so. BENEDICK Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her? LEONATO Signior Benedick, no, for then were you a child. DON PEDRO You have it full, Benedick. We may guess by this what you are, being a man. Truly the lady fathers herself. Be happy lady, for you are like an honourable father. BENEDICK If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not have his head on her shoulders for all Messina, as like him as she is. Don Pedro and Leonato talk aside BEATRICE I wonder that you will still be talking, Signior Benedick: nobody marks you. BENEDICK What, my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet living? BEATRICE Is it possible disdain should die while she hath such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come in her presence. BENEDICK Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted: and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart, for truly I love none. BEATRICE A dear happiness to women: they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that. I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me. BENEDICK God keep your ladyship still in that mind, so some gentleman or other shall scape a predestinate scratched face. BEATRICE Scratching could not make it worse an 'twere such a face as yours were. BENEDICK Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher. BEATRICE A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours. BENEDICK I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good a continuer. But keep your way, a God's name, I have done. BEATRICE You always end with a jade's trick. I know you of old. DON PEDRO That is the sum of all, Leonato.-- To the others Signior Claudio and Signior Benedick, my dear friend Leonato hath invited you all. I tell him we shall stay here at the least a month, and he heartily prays some occasion may detain us longer. I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but prays from his heart. LEONATO If you swear, my lord, you shall To Don John not be forsworn.-- Let me bid you welcome, my lord. Being reconciled to the prince your brother, I owe you all duty. DON JOHN I thank you. I am not of many words, but I thank you. LEONATO Please it your grace lead on? DON PEDRO Your hand, Leonato. We will go together. Exeunt all but Benedick and Claudio CLAUDIO Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of Signior Leonato? BENEDICK I noted her not, but I looked on her. CLAUDIO Is she not a modest young lady? BENEDICK Do you question me as an honest man should do, for my simple true judgement? Or would you have me speak after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to their sex? CLAUDIO No, I pray thee speak in sober judgement. BENEDICK Why, i'faith, methinks she's too low for a high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too little for a great praise. Only this commendation I can afford her, that were she other than she is, she were unhandsome, and being no other but as she is, I do not like her. CLAUDIO Thou think'st I am in sport. I pray thee tell me truly how thou lik'st her. BENEDICK Would you buy her, that you inquire after her? CLAUDIO Can the world buy such a jewel? BENEDICK Yea, and a case to put it into. But speak you this with a sad brow? Or do you play the flouting jack, to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder and Vulcan a rare carpenter? Come, in what key shall a man take you to go in the song? CLAUDIO In mine eye, she is the sweetest lady that ever I looked on. BENEDICK I can see yet without spectacles and I see no such matter. There's her cousin, an she were not possessed with a fury, exceeds her as much in beauty as the first of May doth the last of December. But I hope you have no intent to turn husband, have you? CLAUDIO I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife. BENEDICK Is't come to this? In faith, hath not the world one man but he will wear his cap with suspicion? Shall I never see a bachelor of threescore again? Go to, i'faith, an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it and sigh away Sundays. Look, Don Pedro is returned to seek you. Excerpted from Much Ado about Nothing by William Shakespeare All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.