William Shakespeare's a Midsummer Night's Dream

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9780142501689: William Shakespeare's a Midsummer Night's Dream

Edited, Introduced and Annotated by Cedric Watts, Professor of English Literature, University of Sussex.

The Wordsworth Classics’ Shakespeare Series, with Romeo and Juliet, Henry V and The Merchant of Venice as its inaugural volumes, presents a newly-edited sequence of William Shakespeare’s works. The textual editing takes account of recent scholarship while giving the material a careful reappraisal.

Its lyricism, comedy (both broad and subtle) and magical transformations have long made A Midsummer Night’s Dream one of the most popular of Shakespeare’s works. The supernatural and the mundane, the illusory and the substantial, are all shimmeringly blended. Love is treated as tragic, poignant, absurd and farcical. ‘Lord, what fools these mortals be!’, jeers Robin Goodfellow; but the joke may be on him and on his master Oberon when Bottom the weaver, his head transformed into that of an ass, is embraced by the voluptuously amorous Titania. Recent stage-productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream have emphasised the enchanting, spectacular, ambiguous and erotically joyous aspects of this magical drama which culminates in a multiple celebration of marriage.

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The Wordsworth Classics’ Shakespeare Series, with Romeo and Juliet, Henry V and The Merchant of Venice as its inaugural volumes, presents a newly-edited sequence of William Shakespeare’s works. The textual editing takes account of recent scholarship while giving the material a careful reappraisal. Its lyricism, comedy (both broad and subtle) and magical transformations have long made A Midsummer Night’s Dream one of the most popular of Shakespeare’s works. The supernatural and the mundane, the illusory and the substantial, are all shimmeringly blended. Love is treated as tragic, poignant, absurd and farcical. ‘Lord, what fools these mortals be!’, jeers Robin Goodfellow; but the joke may be on him and on his master Oberon when Bottom the weaver, his head transformed into that of an ass, is embraced by the voluptuously amorous Titania. Recent stage-productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream have emphasised the enchanting, spectacular, ambiguous and erotically joyous aspects of this magical drama which culminates in a multiple celebration of marriage.

Product Description:

A Midsummer Night's Dream is perhaps Shakespeare's most popular comedy, and also a profound, archetypal play. The Introduction describes the two main traditions in the stage history, one emphasising charm and innocence, the other stressing darker suggestions of violence and sexuality, and relates them to similar traditions in critical interpretation, showing that both are necessary to a full understanding of the play. For this updated edition the editor has added a new section to the Introduction which takes account of the number of important professional theatre productions and the large output of scholarly criticism on the play which have appeared in recent years. The Reading List has also been revised and augmented.

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