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The Two Noble Kinsmen (Folger Shakespeare Library)

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0671722968
ISBN-10: 0671722964
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Editorial Reviews


...the Malone Society continues to espouse hardcore bibliography...immaculate detail of compositorial analysis. The volume provides wonderful grist: now the critical mill can begin to turn. Emma Smith, TLS --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A revised edition of an established edition of this intriguing play by leading scholar, Lois Potter. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671722964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671722968
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 12, 1998
Format: Paperback
This volume, part of the third series of the Arden Shakespeare, is long overdue, since good critical editions of "Two Noble Kinsmen" have been scarce compared with other Shakespeare plays (perhaps because of its joint authorship with John Fletcher). Lois Potter does a splendid job of giving a well-edited text, with thorough notation of emendations of the First Quarto of 1634, and offering an informative introduction detailing the theatrical and critical fortunes of this work.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
The Two Noble Kinsmen was only partially written by Shakespeare. The primary author was John Fletcher, and Shakespeare seems to have been doing a rewrite more than a collaboration. As a result, you get two different styles of narration and development in the same story. The underlying tale follows very closely on the famous Knight's Tale from Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. As a result, you get a three way perspective on Shakespeare that is not available elsewhere -- what his co-author did, what Chaucer did, and how Shakespeare handled similar problems in other plays.
Where the Knight's Tale was primarily a story about chivalry, love, and spirituality, The Two Noble Kinsmen is very much about psychology and human emotions. Like other plays that Shakespeare wrote, this one shows how conflicting emotions create problems when we cannot master ourselves. In this case, the two loving cousins, Palamon and Arcite, fall out over having been overwhelmed by love for the appearance of Emilia, Duke Theseus's sister. The play explores many ways that their fatal passion for Emilia might be quenched or diverted into more useful paths. The dilemma can only be resolved by the removal of one of them. This places Emilia in an awkward situation where she will wed one, but at the cost of the life of the other. She finds them both attractive, and is deeply uncomfortable with their mutual passion for her. In a parallel subplot, the jailer's daughter similarly falls in love with Palamon, putting her father's life and her own in jeopardy. Overcome with unrequited love, she becomes mad from realizing what she has done. Only by entering into her delusions is she able to reach out to others.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By King Tycho on July 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I will be the first to admit this is not the "best" or the "greatest" play written by the bard, but it is still very worthy of his name, and incredibly beautiful! Kinsmen is a romance in the style of Shakespeare's other late plays, Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest (my favorite). In many ways it reflects his earlier works, namely A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, and The Tempest. It tells a wonderfully romantic story of two good friends who fall for the same girl (I know, sounds familiar, but trust me, it's a different take on the setup) in Athens. The poetry in it is lovely, the characters very well developed, and the plot is incredible. Many people haven't heard of this play as Shakespeare cowrote it with Fletcher, but belive me, it is still wonderful. Highly recomended.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By F. Behrens HALL OF FAME on January 14, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
The Arkangel Shakespeare series being issued by Penguin Audio is now halfway through the plays and the surprise is that <The Two Noble Kinsmen> was given preference to the remaining more familiar works. Co-authored by Shakespeare and Fletcher, this play remains an odd man out for several reasons. Based fairly closely on the "Knight's Tale" from Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," it tells of two cousins, who just after swearing eternal friendship in one of Duke Theseus' prisons immediately fall in love with the same woman, Emilia, and become bitter rivals for her affections. One of them, Arcite, is exiled but returns in disguise; the other, Palamon, escapes with the help of the Jailer's Daughter, who goes mad for love of him; and...well, see for yourself. Of the play's 23 scenes, 7 and part of an 8th are attributed to Shakespeare, a 9th doubtfully so, and the rest to John Fletcher, who was probably handed over to Shakespeare to learn the ropes as it were. The Shakespeare parts are easy to spot: they are nearly impossible to understand without a heavily annotated copy of the text open before you! Even more so than in his late plays like "Cymberline" and "Winter's Tale," the syntax is so complex, the thoughts so condensed, that one might (and has) compared his writing with the late Beethoven String Quartets. As one of the scholars quoted in the excellent Signet Classic paperback edition of this play comments, the play is most unShakespearean in that none of the characters change over the course of the play. And I should add the subplot of the Daughter's madness is never integrated into the main plot.Read more ›
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rodolfo Lazo de la Vega on May 5, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Two Noble Kinsmen" (1613) was William Shakespeare's final play. After having completed his solo farewell to drama, "The Tempest," in 1611, Shakespeare went on to write three more plays in collaboration with John Fletcher: "Henry VIII," the lost "Cardenio" (based on a subplot found in Miguel de Cervantes' "Don Quixote") and this final work based on Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale." Shakespeare is believed to have written Act 1, Act 3.1, and Act 5 (minus the second scene). Fletcher wrote the other 3/5ths of the work.

Shakespeare's poetry in his final work is in many ways unique. It is very abstract and quite difficult even for those readers otherwise quite comfortable with 17th century verse. The play is very pageant-like from the very first scene, with magniloquent, choral speeches, songs and processions, divine mythological characters played mute, fluttering doves let loose on stage, disappearing hinds and women's dresses with long tresses held up by attendants. The play begins with three recently widowed queens kneeling before King Theseus' procession, begging him to declare war against King Creon of Thebes, who has refused burial to their husbands' bodies after defeating them in battle. Theseus has just returned from conquering the Amazons and is on his way to be married to their former queen, Hippolyta. In Thebes, meanwhile, two noble cousins, Arcite and Palamon, converse of their intent to abandon their native city in disapproval of its sinful nature and the temptations it may pose their self-recognized prelapsarian state of innocence. Their friendship is of such a kind that they never doubt that anything could come between them. Theseus' desire to embrace a just war is weakened by his desire for erotic union with his wife.
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