Merry Wives of Windsor

ISBN-10: 190427112X

ISBN-13: 9781904271123

Edition: 3rd 2000 (Revised)

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Description: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Shakespeare's only thoroughly English comedy, created an archetypal literary figure in the shape of the devious, irrepressible John Falstaff. This stimulating new edition celebrates the play as a joyous exploration of language, but also places elements of its plot firmly in a continental, specifically Italian, tradition of romantic comedy. It draws out the complexities of Merry Wives as a multi-plot play, and takes a fresh and challenging look at both textual and dating issues; a facsimile of the first Quarto is included as an appendix. The play's extensive performance history, both dramatic and operatic, is fully explored and discussed. ?This is a significant and substantive edition, in that nothing has been taken for granted, everything has been opened to reconsideration. The commentary is exceptionally detailed and attentive to questions of language and meaning.? John Jowett, Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, Shakespeare Quarterly

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Book details

List price: $13.95
Edition: 3rd
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Publication date: 12/9/1999
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 368
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.792
Language: English

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.

Giorgio Melchiori is Emeritus Professor of La Sapienza, University of Rome (retired)

List of illustrations
General editors preface
Preface and acknowledgements
Introduction
The English comedy and the comedy of English The comedy of language(s) and the Latin lesson Translating
Italian into English
Falstaffs ancestry and the comedy of humours Garter comedy date, occasion and Falstaffs metamorphosis
Quarto and Folio memorial reconstruction and acting version
Unconformities and comical satire
Structural unconformities and time gaps three versions of Merry Wives
Time and structure in the Folio Time and structure in the Quarto
The third narrative strand Critical attitudes and stage life the music of Merry Wives
Casting and doubling Early performance and adaptation
The emergence of Falstaffs music
The late nineteenth century Falstaff in the twentieth century
This text: editorial procedures and conventions Sir John Falstaff and the Merry Wives of Windsor
The First Quarto (1602)
Abbreviations and references
Index
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