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Twelfth night by William Shakespeare

Twelfth night (edition 1969)

by William Shakespeare

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5,715None740 (3.98)1 / 205
Title:Twelfth night
Authors:William Shakespeare
Info:Harmondsworth: Penguin (1969)
Collections:Your library
Tags:HHW, English Literature, British Literature, British Drama, British Poetry, 16th Century, 17th Century

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Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

16th century (52) 17th century (65) British (68) British literature (62) classic (184) Classic Literature (25) classics (169) comedy (205) drama (655) Elizabethan (41) England (31) English (51) English literature (78) fiction (261) humor (41) literature (145) own (39) paperback (23) play (316) plays (338) poetry (38) read (83) Renaissance (34) romance (33) script (36) Shakespeare (739) theatre (216) to-read (44) twins (24) unread (31)



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Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
a re-read after many. many years - still as wonderful as i remember ( )
  DawsonOakes | Dec 7, 2013 |
The introduction says Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" is one of his most performed plays, which is funny since I've never heard of it being performed locally (and have seen many others.)

It wouldn't surprise me though, as the play is pretty entertaining and uses the often-employed Shakespearean disguise fairly well. The story follows Viola and Sebastian, siblings who are in a shipwreck and each believes the other has died. Meanwhile, the beautiful Olivia is fending off a crew of courting men and antics ensue.

Overall, the story is fairly amusing and moves along at a nice pace. ( )
  amerynth | Nov 27, 2013 |
This is definitely a classic Shakespearean comedy, complete with disguises, intrigue, love, humor, and a lot of fun. In all honesty, I am not generally a big fan of comedies, but this is definitely an example of an exception. As to the edition itself, I found it to be greatly helpful in understanding the action in the play. It has a layout which places each page of the play opposite a page of notes, definitions, explanations, and other things needed to understand that page more thoroughly. While I didn't always need it, I was certainly glad to have it whenever I ran into a turn of language that was unfamiliar, and I definitely appreciated the scene-by-scene summaries. Really, if you want to or need to read Shakespeare, an edition such as this is really the way to go, especially until you get more accustomed to it. ( )
  TiffanyAK | Oct 29, 2013 |
Fabulous! Even an eighth grader can read (with a little guidance) and enjoy! ( )
  kathyschenck | Oct 8, 2013 |
Thanks to PBS' Shakespeare Uncovered it was suddenly time for a reread. The Comedies (With Joely Richardson) episode had some wonderful clips of both this play and As You Like It, and discussion of women in Shakespeare's plays. (If you catch that link in time, you may be able to watch the entire video/episode. I think this series is going to make me reread a lot, and perhaps get on to some of the plays I've meant to read.)

I do remember that what kept this from four stars was Sir Toby and his gang. If they hadn't taken up so much time I'd have gone in for more stars, because I never do enjoy their humor. Not when reading the play, that is.

Random quotes and ponderings while reading:

...It's weird reading this after hearing (in Shakespeare Uncovered) that for many Malvolio is the focus of the play, or at least as far as the comedy goes - and the part was apparently wildly popular with audiences. (It's definitely the plum role for an actor.) But I suppose that holds true if you're watching more for the comedy than the love story - and I was always more apt to read quickly over the more annoying (to me) comedy stuff to get back to the romance. Personally I always ignored Malvolio in my hatred of Sir Toby Belch - but then I never do find "loud, usually-drunk guy" (like Falstaff) very amusing in comedy. (Or reality, for that matter.)

It reminds me of some books where an author decides to hop from one story and group of characters to another - and the reader becomes annoyed because "what IS going to happen to group one, which I'm more interested in????!" That's always been how I've read the Malvolio/Sir Toby bits in the past.

...A quote that makes you wonder what story was behind it! When saying that she can write in Olivia's handwriting, Act II scene iii:
...I can write very like my lady, your niece; on a forgotten matter we can hardly make distinction of our hands.That in itself is an idea for another farce.

...Ah ha. I'm remembering now another reason why I've hated Sir Toby. He basically gets Sir Andrew to hang around by encouraging him to woo Olivia - but it's only so that Toby can suck up as much ale as possible on Sir Andrew's dime. He'd happily sell his niece for drink. What a nice guy. Of course Sir Andrew's not in love - he's only after Olivia for money, as far as we can tell.

...Act II scene iv - I love this bit. Orsino, the Duke, is speaking to Viola, who is dressed as boy. Orsino seems to be saying that women don't fare well in age - and Viola pops in to immediately point out that they in fact get more perfect:
Then let thy love be younger than thyself,
Or thy affection cannot hold the bent:
For women are as roses, whose fair flower,
Being once display'd, doth fall that very hour.

And so they are: alas, that they are so;
To die, even when they to perfection grow!Actually I love this entire scene, but that's the easiest bit to quote.

...I do love when the fourth wall breaks like this - it's the author's way of admitting when things are a bit over the top. Act III, Scene iv:MALVOLIO:
Go, hang yourselves all! you are idle shallow things: I am not of your element; you shall know more hereafter.

Is't possible?

If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.

His very genius hath taken the infection of the device, man.

Nay, pursue him now; lest the device take air and taint.

Why, we shall make him mad indeed.It's the first line of Fabian's I was thinking of, but I left the rest because it's worth noting that the conspirators may not really think they were actually going to drive Malvolio mad. Are they assuming it's a feigned madness (in Malvolio's confusion of what's real) or something that may push him to the real sort? Unfortunately they picked the wrong dupe for this kind of game, and he fell in a bit too deep. Perhaps the 4th wall break is also a way of reminding us "pay no mind to how Malvolio's madness is treated and remember this is comedy." Malvolio's treatment does seem cruel, but then again, if he weren't so pompous, I'd probably feel a bit more sympathy for him. Also in the time period for a servant to consider himself the equal, never mind the beloved, of his master/mistress - well, that was A Big Deal. (Especially a male servant and a lady, that was big on the Not Allowed list.)

...The play contains two (or at least only two that immediately come to mind) quotes that I've seen people use in places like tumblr as "isn't this wonderful" and "ah, love" kind of citations. You know, the ones in jpgs with script and - only if you're lucky - the name of the play. Usually it's just attributed to Shakespeare. (Which always makes me wonder, do some people think it doesn't matter to cite where quotes come from anymore? Because people do this a lot, and more online in the past decade than previously.) And, er, the quotes don't really work the way some folk are citing them. Putting them over a floral image or picture of doves or lovers doesn't make a quote work any better if that's not the context.


Act I, Scene i, opening lines of the play, spoken by Orsino
If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken and so die.If you just take the first line you can go with the "ah love" jazz - but with full sentence the meaning is different - this is someone that wants to be given too much of it so that he can become sick of the thing and get it over with already. Sort of like eating to excess, then vomiting, and then never wanting that dish again. That's not a thought you want to put on a valentine's day card, sorry. And yes, Orsino is being overly dramatic (melodramatic) about his love. But then, it's a comedy.

Act II, Scene v, Malvolio reading a note he believes is from Olivia:
'If this fall into thy hand, revolve. In my stars I am above thee; but be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. Thy fates open their hands; let thy blood and spirit embrace them.'However, the letter isn't really from Olivia, the whole thing is a trap to get Malvolio to make an even greater fool of himself than normally would occur. So quoting this line - without realizing what Malvolio is within the play - and just thinking it's a commentary on rising above one's birth, or a statement on class and society - nope, that's going to be a bad cite. And only to be placed on a List of Encouraging Quotes if you think emulating Malvolio is a good thing. (You can find people doing this online with Polonius and "to thine own self be true" - without realizing what kind of guy Polonius is - because yes, that does matter - he's the guy no young person would want to emulate. Come to think of it, this would be a great grade school exercise to teach what "context" means - without even reading the plays, just use wikipedia descriptions and then show the quotes in context.) ( )
1 vote bookishbat | Sep 25, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (169 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Shakespeareprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andrews, John F.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Auld, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barnet, SylvanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elam, KeirEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Furness, Horace HowardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Günther, FrankTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, G. B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Honigmann, E. A. J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hudson, Henry N.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Innes, Arthur D.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kittredge, George LymanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Komrij, GerritTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McCowen, AlecForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, WIlliam JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, StanleyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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First words
If music be the food of love, play on,

Give me excess of it; that, surfeiting,

The appetite may sicken, and so die.
If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.

That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour!
If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.
Be not afraid of greatness: some men are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.
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Wikipedia in English (7)

Book description
After seeing Twelfe Night on Broadway this past October, I was able to get Stephen Fry (Malvolio) to sign my copy of Twelfth Night. I will treasure it always.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743482778, Mass Market Paperback)

Each edition includes:

• Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play

• Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play

• Scene-by-scene plot summaries

• A key to famous lines and phrases

• An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language

• An essay by an outstanding scholar providing a modern perspective on the play

• Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books

Essay by Catherine Belsey

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit www.folger.edu.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:47 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Penny Gay has written a new Introduction to this updated edition of Shakespeare's popular comedy. She stresses the play's theatricality, its elaborate linguistic games and its complex use of Ovidian myths. In addition, Gay analyzes its delicate balancing of romance and realism and exploration of gender, sexuality and identity.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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Seven editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140714898, 0141014709

Yale University Press

An edition of this book was published by Yale University Press.

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