Romeo and Juliet (Barnes & Noble Shakespeare) - David Scott Kastan, Mario DiGangi, William Shakespeare Everyone knows this story. It’s a wonderful mix of humor, chauvinism and melodramatic longing. And though I’ve heard and read this story countless times, this edition by Mario Digani helped bring a finer understanding. Simple editing choices, such as having the traditional footnotes and endnotes placed on the left side pages, made deciphering Shakespeare’s Early English much more fluid. Additionally, the added space allowed for more comprehensive notes which made looking for stylistic techniques much less burdensome. One obvious example, which I never saw before, was Shakespeare’s use of a joint sonnet between Romeo and Juliet at their first meeting culminating in their first kiss. These are the kinds of detail that great editing can really highlight for those, like me, who tend to be oblivious to such things.

This is such a well known play that has been re-imagined so many times that it’s easy to forget the writing and focus on the plot. However, Mercutio’s lines overspill with biting wit and some of Juliet’s passages are beautiful, in such a learned and a loved-wise way, they contribute ten-fold to the tragedy in that they come from the mouth of a thirteen year old.