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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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Editorial Reviews

Review

a valuable edition of 'The Winter's Tale'...His accounts of language and of motivation are particularly illuminating and level-headed. - The Review of English Studies, Vol. 49, No. 194, 1998.

`a valuable edition of The Winter's Tale ... this is a well-focused and helpful edition.' Paul Hammond, Review of English Studies --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

John Dover Wilson's New Shakespeare, published between 1921 and 1966, became the classic Cambridge edition of Shakespeare's plays and poems until the 1980s. The series, long since out-of-print, is now reissued. Each work contains a lengthy and lively introduction, main text, and substantial notes and glossary. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; 1 edition (November 1, 1998)
  • 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: #119,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.
Read more ›
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