As You Like It

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 23, 2000 - Drama - 219 pages
8 Reviews
Shakespeare's As You Like It can appear bright or somber in performance: a feast of language and a delight for comic actors; or a risk-taking exploration of gender roles. This edition offers an account of what makes the play both innocent and dangerous, mapping the complexities of its setting (a no-man's-land related to both France and England) and giving an ample commentary on its language and an analytical account of performance.
 

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i love this book. it is a wonderful classic and romantic comedy. :)

Contents

Introduction
1
Plays within the play
8
Theatrical genres
11
Pastoral
17
Counterpastoral
19
The condition of the country
21
Politics
25
Between you and the women the play may please
30
Date and occasion
62
Sources
64
Note on the text
67
List of characters
70
THE PLAY
73
Textual analysis
199
Appendixes
204
2 The songs
218

Gender
32
Nuptials
41
Stage history
43

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About the author (2000)

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.

Michael Hattaway was educated in New Zealand and at Cambridge. He has taught at the Universities of Kent, British Columbia, Massachusetts, and Sheffield. He is the author of Elizabethan Popular Theatre (1982) and Hamlet: The Critics Debate (1987) and is the editor of A Companion to English Renaissance Literature and Culture (2000); with A. R. Braunmuller, of The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Drama (1990), and, with Derek Roper and Boika Sokolova, of Shakespeare in the New Europe (1994). For the New Mermaids he has edited Beaumont's The Knight of the Burning Pestle, for the New Cambridge Shakespeare 1-3 Henry VI and As You Like It, and for the Revels Series Jonson's The New Inn.