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Twelfth Night (Folger Shakespeare Library) Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2004
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About the Author
Barbara A. Mowat is Director of Research emerita at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Consulting Editor of Shakespeare Quarterly, and author of The Dramaturgy of Shakespeare’s Romances and of essays on Shakespeare’s plays and their editing.
Paul Werstine is Professor of English at the Graduate School and at King’s University College at Western University. He is a general editor of the New Variorum Shakespeare and author of Early Modern Playhouse Manuscripts and the Editing of Shakespeare and of many papers and articles on the printing and editing of Shakespeare’s plays.
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It is Shakespeare so of course there is ingenious wordplay, witticisms, etc. The character of the fool is particularly well drawn in Twelfth Night. He seems cleverer by half than the assorted aristocracy.
However, most of the modern focus in Twelfth Night is because one of its main female protagonists disguises herself as a man, falls in love with a man and has a woman, who falls for the disguise, fall in love with her. This is all supposed to be very germane to modern gender studies/issues.
I am not convinced Shakespeare really says much of relevance to contemporary cultural concerns but I am not an expert. These just don’t seem to me, as they do to other commentators, central to the play.
What I found is another masterpiece of Shakespearean comedy. One can almost be forgetful of how lucky we are that Shakespeare wrote so many even if they do seem to revolve around similar plot conceits. Highly recommended (although it hardly needs another recommendation).
Duke Orsino is in love with Lady Olivia who is in no mood whatsoever to love any man at this point, since she has recently lost her only brother and trusted sibling she is in adamantly in mourning! Nevertheless, Viola dressed as a boy is bound to plead Orsino's case before the Lady Olivia, who ultimately falls for Viola thinking she is a young man called Cesario. Well anyway the waste products are about to hit the fan since Viola's twin brother is not drowned and comes looking for his beloved sister Viola! What I want to know is who's gonna marry who!! Will this be a LGBT play fest! I trow not for in Shakespeare's comedies 'All's Well That Ends Well!"
*Do not* buy this Kindle version if you're looking to get this book for a college course!!!
Although it's been more than 40 years since I graduated with a degree in English and I've retired from a non-literary career in government, I still read Shakespeare on a regular basis. I'm updating my collection with volumes that will fit into my backpack for travel. This edition meets my needs perfectly.
Top international reviews
She loves the style and layout of this particular publisher.
Having tried various other publications she found them to be a little confusing and disorganised due to the layout and lack of spacing.
This version allows her space to write her own notes plus there is a clear visual definition between each speaking character, making it much easier and clearer to pick out specific parts.
In her opinion this is a fantastic must have for English Literature at A Level.
The enchanting story of Viola dressed as the page Cesario, with whom both Orsino and Orsino's erstwhile object of desire fall in love, is filled with rapturous poetry that articulates love, desire and romantic melancholy. But these central relationships are modulated by Malvolio's desire for his mistress Olivia, the bawdy comedy of Sir Toby Belch, and Antonio's unrequited desire for Viola's twin, Sebastian.
Ultimately social harmony is restored - but the portrait of Malvolio gives us an insight, perhaps, into how characters such as Edmund in King Lear, and Iago are created.
So a sunny, feel-good romantic comedy, but shaded lightly by a darker tinge.
A week later we saw the play in Stratford and he had no problem following the story, he even new the different characters.
It's winter and the rain it raineth every day, so why not curl up with this one?
Being only second series, it does suffer from a slightly confusing layout in comparison to the third series (Twelfth Night 3rd Edition being released in Winter 2007), however, it still has an awesome in-depth analysis of the play text, and a very interesting 100page essay at the start to give an overview of the play which provides choices for the actor, or ideas for the essay-writer.
Definately worth a buy.