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The Winter's Tale (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0451527141 ISBN-10: 0451527143 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; 1 edition (June 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451527143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451527141
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Aimed at a more scholarly audience, the New Cambridge Shakespeare produces superb editions that rank with the Arden and the Oxford as the best in the business. This year's The Winter's Tale is no exception. Edited by the late Susan Snyder and Deborah T. Curren-Aquino, this edition has a lucid and intelligent introduction that covers all of the crucial elements of this complicated late play: genre; Leontes' jealousy; the bear; Time; act V and the ending. There is also a fascinating discussion of the revision theory-Forman did not mention the statue scene in his 1611 account of the play, after all-but the edition decides against the theory, in spite of Snyder's having made the most eloquent case for it in 2002. There is a very useful discussion of sources, the notes to the play are exemplary, and the Selected Reading list is both excellent and up-to-date. Although the appendix concentrates on performance issues (Forman's notes on the play, doubling possibilities, key staging choices, a performance chronology), the edition is notable for its blend of textual and performance discussions. Especially effective is the decision to match photographs of the play in performance with the thematic issues under discussion. The visual variations on the statue scene are especially welcome and will be a boon in the classroom. Finally, although it has become fashionable in recent years for critics, editors, and directors to darken the ending, this edition opts for ambiguity rather than pessimism and seems truer to The Winter's Tale's hybrid, tragicomic spirit as a result."
-Studies in English Literature, Spring 2008 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The Winter's Tale is one of Shakespeare's most varied, theatrically self-conscious, and emotionally wide-ranging plays. This 2007 edition provides a newly-edited text, a comprehensive introduction that takes into account current critical thinking, and a detailed commentary on the play's language designed to make it easily accessible to contemporary readers. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

For me The Winter's Tale is the most satisfying of Shakespeare's plays.
Henry Ehrman
Leontes is king of Sicilia and he has played host to his good friend Polixenes, the king of Bohemia.
Vincent Poirier
I felt I got a deeper understanding of the play than if I had just read the play proper.
Zane Parks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Henry Ehrman on July 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
For me The Winter's Tale is the most satisfying of Shakespeare's plays. And why? It may not be Hamlet for tragedy, it may not be Twelfth Night for comedy -- indeed, perhaps in the great objective sense this is not nearly his best; but as a coherent work this has them all beat. Here we find all sides of Shakespeare's genius on display: Leontes shares his intense sexual jealousy with Othello, and Florizel and Perdita take their light-hearted romantic comedy interplay (complete with disguises and recogntions) from the best of Shakespeare's comedies, before his sense of the romantic soured into the bitter genius of the problem plays. Add that to the eerily lyrical poetry of Act IV, and you've got a masterpiece. The Winter's Tale is laugh-out-loud funny at times; it's ribald; it's profoundly tragic; and in the end, it's a look at the craft of theater, the craft of literature and ultimately the craft of living. Unjustly ignored, The Winter's Tale is easily as good as its immediate successor, The Tempest -- and that's high praise indeed.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Oddsfish VINE VOICE on May 27, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Winter's Tale is a lot of things: heart-breaking, exhilerating, funny, beautiful, romantic, profound, etc. Yeah, it's all here. This is one of the bard's best plays, and I can't believe they don't teach this in schools. Of course, the ones they teach are excellent, but I can see high school kids enjoying this one a lot more than some of those others (Othello, King Lear).
The story is, of course, brilliant. King Leontes goes into a jealous rage at the beginning against his wife Hermione. Leontes is very mistaken in his actions, and the result is tragic. Shakespeare picks the story back up sixteen years later with the children, and the story works to a really, really surprising end of bittersweet redemption.
This is one of Shakespeare's bests. The first half is a penetrating and devestating, but the second half shows a capacity for salvation from the depths of despair. Also, this being Shakespeare, the blank verse is gorgeous and the characters are well drawn, and the ending is a surprise unparalleled in the rest of his plays. The Winter's Tale is a truly profound and entertaining read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Zane Parks on July 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Early compilers of Shakespeare's plays classified this a comedy, but there is much tragedy in it. Later it was called a romance. Through irrational jealousy a king is apparently responsible for the deaths of his entire family -- wife, son and daughter -- by mid-play. Time is a character in the play and at his one appearance summarizes the passage of sixteen years. If you have an overy high regard for realism, you may not much enjoy this play, but that will be true of more of Shakespeare than just this one tale. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I look forward to seeing it. I've ordered the BBC DVD and it's being performed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2006. These Cambridge School editions have the play's text on right-hand pages; they have summary, commentary and exercises, and vocabulary on the facing left-hand pages. As I read through the play, I'd read the summary, read the play text paying attention to vocabulary, and then read the commentary and exercises. Some additional, unusual vocabulary was only explained in the commentary. I felt I got a deeper understanding of the play than if I had just read the play proper.mmary, commentary and exercises, and vocabulary on the facing left-hand pages. As I read through the play, I'd read the summary, read the play text paying attention to vocabulary, and then read the commentary and exercises. Some additional, unusual vocabulary was only explained in the commentary. I felt I got a deeper understanding of the play than if I had just read the play proper.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
The Winter's Tale contains some of the most technically difficult solutions to telling a story that have ever appeared in a play. If you think you know all about how a play must be constructed, read The Winter's Tale. It will greatly expand your mind.
The play opens near the end of a long visit by Polixenes, the king of Bohemia, to the court of his childhood friend, Leontes, the king of Sicily. Leontes wants his friend to stay one more day. His friend declines. Leontes prevails upon his wife, Hermione, to persuade Polixenes. Hermione does her husband's bidding, having been silent before then. Rather than be pleased that she has succeeded, Leontes goes into a jealous rage in which he doubts her faithfulness. As his jealousy grows, he takes actions to defend his misconceptions of his "abused" honor that in fact abuse all those who have loved him. Unable to control himself, Leontes continues to pursue his folly even when evidence grows that he is wrong. To his great regret, these impulsive acts cost him dearly.
Three particular aspects of the play deserve special mention. The first is the way that Shakespeare ties together actions set 16 years apart in time. Although that sounds like crossing the Grand Canyon in a motorcycle jump, Shakespeare pulls off the jump rather well so that it is not so big a leap. The second is that Shakespeare captures entirely different moods from hilarious good humor to deep depression and remorse closely adjacent to one another. As a result, the audience is able to experience many more emotions than normally are evoked in a single play. Third, the play's final scene is as remarkable a bit of writing as you can imagine. Read it, and marvel!
After you finish reading this play, think about where your own loss of temper has had bad consequences.
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The Winter's Tale (Signet Classics)
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