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The Two Noble Kinsmen (Folger Shakespeare Library) Mass Market Paperback – April 20, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0671722968 ISBN-10: 0671722964

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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: 1 x 6.2 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on England’s Avon River. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children—their older daughter Susanna and the twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent, not in Stratford, but in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright, but as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Sometime between 1610 and 1613, Shakespeare is thought to have retired from the stage and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
Thank you, Penguin, for this noble entry in a series that is getting better and better.
F. Behrens
If you've ever known love to ruin a friendship, one of the other sex to come between you and your friend - doesn't this happen quite often?
The play is rarely produced today and does not come up to the lofty standards of the other works of Shakespeare.
R. D. Allison (

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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15 of 18 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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14 of 18 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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