Twelfth Night (New Penguin Shakespeare)

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9780140707113: Twelfth Night (New Penguin Shakespeare)

Unique features include an extensive overview of Shakespeare's life, world, and theater by the general editor of Signet Classic Shakespeare series, plus a special introduction to the play by the editor Sylvan Barnet, Tufts University. It also contains dramatic criticism from the past and present, and a special introduction to the play by the editor, Herschel Baker, Harvard University.

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Product Description:

Part of The New Penguin Shakespeare series, this text looks at Twelfth Night with an introduction, a list of further reading, commentary and a short account of the textual problems of the play. The series is used and recommended by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Review:

One of Shakespeare's finest comedies, Twelfth Night, was written at the same time as Hamlet and Troilus and Cressida, and while it shares their fascination with sex, death and confused identities, its exuberant comedy and linguistic inventiveness rises above the introspection of these plays. Viola and her twin brother Sebastian are separated in a storm that washes them both up at different points on the shores of Illyria. Believing each other to be dead, both attempt to survive by using their wits. Viola cross-dresses and enters the service of the lovesick Orsino, in love with Olivia, an heiress in mourning for the loss of her brother. Orsino's saucy young page Cesario (Viola) soon falls in love with "his" master, who tells "him", "all is semblative a woman's part". Unfortunately, while Viola falls in love with Orsino, Olivia falls in love with her alter ego, Cesario, while also being pursued at the same time by her pompous servant Malvolio. Olivia's house is also turned upside down by the antics of her drunker uncle, Sir Toby Belch, and the whole crazy situation reaches boiling point when Sebastian reappears.

Despite the madcap plot, Twelfth Night remains one of Shakespeare's most complex and inventive comedies, fascinated with questions of cross-dressing, gender confusion, language and inversion, as well as retaining a darker edge to some of its laughter. --Jerry Brotton

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Shakespeare, William
Published by Penguin Classics (1981)
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Shakespeare, William
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