This volume offers the most comprehensive and critically up-to-date edition of Troilus and Cressida available today. Bevington's learned and engaging introduction discusses the ambivalent status and genre of the play, variously presented in its early printing as a comedy, a history, and a tragedy. He examines and assimilates the wide variety of critical responses the play has elicited, and argues its importance in today's culture as an experimental and open-ended work. Themes of women as objects of desire and bonds of friendship between men, for instance, are not limited by historical context. He also, however, suggests that this experimentalism may have contributed to its lack of immediate stage success, and goes on to place the work in its late Elizabethan context of political instability and theatrical rivalry. A thorough performance history focuses chiefly on recent productions. The complex text situation is re-examined and the differing textual readings carefully explicated. Influential sources for this work and the surviving texts of Troilus and Cressida are discussed in appendices.
The Arden Shakespeare has developed a reputation as the pre-eminent critical edition of Shakespeare for its exceptional scholarship, reflected in the thoroughness of each volume. An introduction comprehensively contextualizes the play, chronicling the history and culture that surrounded and influenced Shakespeare at the time of its writing and performance, and closely surveying critical approaches to the work. Detailed appendices address problems like dating and casting, and analyze the differing Quarto and Folio sources. A full commentary by one or more of the play's foremost contemporary scholars illuminates the text, glossing unfamiliar terms and drawing from an abundance of research and expertise to explain allusions and significant background information. Highly informative and accessible, Arden offers the fullest experience of Shakespeare available to a reader.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
General Editor's Preface
'A new play, never staled with the stage': genre and the question of original performance
'An envious fever of pale and bloodless emulation': historical context in the last years of Elizabeth's reign
'Wars and lechery': demystification of the heroes of ancient Greece
''Tis but the chance of war': sceptical deflation of Trojan honour and chivalry
'The gods have heard me swear': tragic irony and the death of Hector
'As true as Troilus': male obsessions about honour and sexuality
'As false as Cressid': women as objects of desire
'Call them all panders': voyeurism and male bonding
'What's aught but as 'tis valued?': commercial and subjective valuation of identity and worth
'Divides more wider than the sky and earth': the fragmentation of the divided self
'Stuff to make paradoxes': performance history of Troilus and Cressid'
Troilus and Cressida
'Instructed by the antiquary times': Shakespeare's sources
'Words, words, mere words': The text of Troilus and Cressida
Abbreviations and references
Abbreviations used in notes
Shakespeare's works and works partly by Shakespeare
Editions of Shakespeare collated