All's Well That Ends Well

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Simon and Schuster, 2001 - Drama - 282 pages
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Completely re-edited, the New Folger Library editions of Shakespeare's plays put readers in touch with current ways of thinking about Shakespeare. Each freshly edited text is based directly on what the editors consider the best early printed version of the play. Each volume contains full explanatory notes on pages facing the text of the play, as well as a helpful introduction to Shakespeare's language. The accounts of William Shakespeare's life, his theater, and the publication of his plays present the latest scholarship, and the annotated reading lists suggest sources of further information. The illustrations of objects, clothing, and mythological figures mentioned in the plays are drawn from the Library's vast holdings of rare books. At the conclusion of each play there is a full essay by an outstanding scholar who assesses the play in light of today's interests and concerns.

 

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All's well that ends well

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This dark comedy, written in the very early 1600s, is the latest title in the revamped "Pelican Shakespeare" series, which offers definitive texts of the plays with scholarly introductions, essays, and notes. You can't go wrong with this wonderful series. FICTION ... Read full review

Contents

Editors Preface
ix
Shakespeares Life
xxv
Shakespeares Theater
xxxv
The Publication of Shakespeares Plays
xlvi
Longer Notes
221
Textual Notes
227
Alls Well That Ends Well A Modern Perspective
235
Further Reading
253
Key to Famous Lines and Phrases
281
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School. At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry. By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true. Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.

Mowat, Director of Academic Programs Folger Shakespeare Library.

Paul Westine is a professor of English at King's College and the Graduate School of the University of Western Ontario, Canada. He is general editor of the New Variorum Shakespeare and author of many papers and articles on the printing and editing of Shakespeare's plays.

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