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"Timon of Athens" (Arden Shakespeare) Paperback – May, 1969


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Product Details

  • Series: Arden Shakespeare
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Thomson Learning; 2nd Revised edition edition (May 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0416278604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0416278606
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,127,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Unfinished tragedy in five acts by William Shakespeare, probably first performed 1607-08 and published in the First Folio of 1623. It belongs to Shakespeare's late experimental period, when he explored a new kind of tragic form. Unlike the plots of his great tragedies, the story of Timon of Athens is simple and lacks development. It demonstrates events in the life of Timon, a man known for his great and universal generosity, who spends his fortune and then is spurned when he requires help. He puts on a feast, invites his fair-weather friends, serves them warm water, and throws it in their faces. With his servant Flavius, he leaves Athens and, filled with hatred, goes to live in a cave. While digging for roots to eat, Timon uncovers gold, most of which he gives to the soldier Alcibiades for his war against Athens. Word of his fortune reaches Athens, and as a variety of Athenians importune Timon again, he curses them and dies. The first half of the play shows Timon's thoroughly unrealistic assessment of the people and events around him and makes it clear that he lives in a dream world. Into that world--as the audience watches, with some pain--reality intrudes. The second half of the play is a simple series of interviews between Timon and his Athenian visitors that seem arranged solely to allow Timon to vent his rage. Of the various explanations put forward for the uneven quality of the writing in this play, much the most probable is that this is Shakespeare's rough draft of a play. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Timon's wretched experiences of treachery have him repudiate all past good deeds.
Vincent Poirier
The snarling voice of Norman Rodway's Apemantus is a perfect counterpoint, and he casts out his invective in those early scenes with a hint of humor.
F. Behrens
It is a mature work, displaying much linguistic virtusoity, charm of expression and highly imaginative images and allegories.
TheIrrationalMan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By F. Behrens HALL OF FAME on February 24, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
Among the least performed of all the Shakespeare plays, <Timon of Athens> is probably the most disturbing. In the beginning, Timon is (not to put too fine a point on it) stupidly philanthropic; in the end he is equally misanthropic. When Timon is on top of the world, we have the cynical Apemantus to be our voice and let him know what a fool he is. In the last two acts, we simply wish (I do, at least) that our hero would stop complaining and let us "pass and stay not here," as he would have all men do in his epitaph.
But a recording is to be judged on its performances, not so much on its text. The Arkangel series, now in its last laps toward completion before (I am told) it is all redone on CDs, has every reason to be proud of its "Timon of Athens," thanks to its strong and intelligent readings. The opening scenes of artisans and poets building up the play's themes of wheel-of-fortune and gratitude/ingratitude are almost intelligible without a text open before you. Alan Howard, whom I saw in New York long ago as Henry V and as the main character in "Good," has that kind of friendly voice that is so well suited to the extravagant Timon in the open acts that we feel all the more for him when his false friends deny him in his need.
The snarling voice of Norman Rodway's Apemantus is a perfect counterpoint, and he casts out his invective in those early scenes with a hint of humor. However, when Timon becomes the misanthrope, his voice darkens and coarsens; and it is very hard to tell it from Apemantus' in their overly-long exchange of curses in 4:3. If the actor playing Alcibiades (Damian Lewis) sounds far too young for the role, that is a minor quibble--and perhaps the director wanted him to sound like a young Timon.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By noneal on July 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Timon of Athens has often been thought the work of a madman. Disjointed, polemical, irrational, and downright inelegant, many have thought that Shakespeare (or whosoever it may be) suffered a mental breakdown. These and other factors culimate in what I believe to be a tragic under-appreciation of this play.

This play is NOT the story of a naively generous soul who eventually "faces reality". This is instead the story of a glorious Dionysian self-expender, who, upon realizing the cowardly conservatism of his so-called "peers", runs off to the wilds, to lavishly waste himself in body and soul. He dies on a curse, the climax of all the "evil wind" he has been sending out, the ultimate dissipation, his ultimate glory. The "tragedy" of the play is the cold stone tablet that lies atop his corpse at the end, and the message of frugality it seems to espouse.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Lutz on October 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Apparently a direct transcription of the physical book's text, the Kindle edition of this play is very poorly formatted. Line-breaks are muddled and the editorial notes get mixed up in the play-text proper. Very disappointed that Pelican would do this -- I imagine they simply wanted an easy way onto the ebook market and didn't think about the mechanics of what they were doing at all. If you need electronic Shakespeare, get it somewhere else.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sean Ares Hirsch on March 4, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Many people feel that this play of Shakespeare's is either unfinished or a poor effort. But I do not think this is accurate or fair. The reality is that many people can never find a middle ground. It is actually (in my opinion) quite common for people to only be able to see things from one extreme or the other. Despite Apemantus' cynical nature, there is no denying that whatever his faults are, HE DOES HAVE RIGHT ON HIS SIDE when he tells Timon: "The middle of humanity thou never knewest,/ but the extremity of both ends...." (4.3.342-343). Critics also tend to think Apemantus is unlikable, but are we missing a crucial point? I can not help but think Shakespeare is commenting on the fact that more people DON'T have a concept of reality. Apemantus refuses to join in the delight when Timon thinks highly of his false friends. Apemantus is aware of reality and no one wants to hear it. In my opinion Timon and Apemantus are VERY TRUE to life. In addition, the roll of Flavius is very touching. He can not dessert his master even when he knows (or thinks) Timon has nothing. Finally, I can not over estimate the mastery of Shakespeare when first Timon has money, he can not do enough for his so called friends and when he has nothing they dessert him. When Timon through fate gains a second fortune, he does not turn back into what he was, but rather he uses his 2nd fortune to destroy Athens. It is interesting that Shakespeare derived this play on the legend of 'Timon the Manhater,' and decides to take it a step further and show how he got there. And how much more realistic could Shakespeare have made this than by first showing Timon as a 'manlover?' Many people feel Timon should have somehow found the middle of humanity, but if he had, that would have defeated the whole purpose of this excellent play.
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By A Customer on September 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
It's unfortunate that TIMON OF ATHENS was never finished, because it could have ranked with Shakespeare's best. There is certainly enough excellent writing to make this play worthwhile, but beware, there are poorly fleshed-out characters, jarring speeches, and undeveloped themes. Still, amidst the chaos is a very poignant story of a man who learns what just about every character in every Shakespeare play eventually learns: "there's no art to find the mind's construction in the face."
The Arden edition is especially rcommended. Editor H.J. Oliver takes the Arden's usual conservative approach to emendations of the text, and gives clear notes to difficult passages. One of the best in the Arden series.
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