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Twelfth Night (1601)

by William Shakespeare, F. H. Pritchard

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,41299651 (3.98)1 / 332
John Dover Wilson's New Shakespeare, published between 1921 and 1966, became the classic Cambridge edition of Shakespeare's plays and poems until the 1980s. The series, long since out-of-print, is now reissued. Each work is available both individually and as a set, and each contains a lengthy and lively introduction, main text, and substantial notes and glossary printed at the back. The edition, which began with The Tempest and ended with The Sonnets, put into practice the techniques and theories that had evolved under the 'New Bibliography'. Remarkably by today's standards, although it took the best part of half a century to produce, the New Shakespeare involved only a small band of editors besides Dover Wilson himself. As the volumes took shape, many of Dover Wilson's textual methods acquired general acceptance and became an established part of later editorial practice, for example in the Arden and New Cambridge Shakespeares.… (more)
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» See also 332 mentions

English (94)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (99)
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
"If music be the food of love, play on"

“Twelfth Night” is probably one of Shakespeare's best known plays so I don't intend to say too much about the plot other than to say that it features a mistaken identity and a love 'triangle' of sorts.

'Twelfth Night' features some of the best known lines in English literature but personally I found the mistaken identity device was a bit of a stretch even for twins and it simply just wasn't as funny as another comedy, "A Midsummer Night's Dream". However, it does have some very funny moments, particularly those involving two plotting drunken Lords, Sir Toby Belch (kinsman to Olivia) and Sir Andrew Aguecheek (a Don Quixote-esque knight) and as always you just have to sit back and admire the writing.

"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” ( )
  PilgrimJess | Mar 21, 2022 |
Twelfth Night and Much Ado are my favorite of Shakespeare's comedies, funny and fast paced. ( )
  kevn57 | Dec 8, 2021 |
First play read as part of Shakespeare 2020 Project. It was a bit of a tough read but I expect things will get better as I get more used to reading plays in general and Shakespeare in particular. Overall, I did enjoy it. ( )
  jmcrown68 | Jul 11, 2021 |
Drama; Adult. I'd forgotten that I had read it before, so I guess it didn't make much of an impression the first time, but Shakespeare is one of those things that get better the more you read it. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Twelfth Night ranks up with A Midsummer Night’s Dream when you are looking at Shakespeare’s comedies that have been produced and adapted to death. While this play about disguising your gender and falling in love and mistaken twins play have played better in he 1600s, these days there’s a lot to say about the underlying sense of homophobia, bullying, and implied transphobia of having a character dress in drag for the audience’s entertainment. Fortunately because it’s a play, there are ways of interpreting this for the stage that can alleviate some of the problematic elements.

While Twelfth Night isn’t my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays, it is a familiar one. Viola and Sebastien are shipwrecked separately in a strange land. Each assumes the other is dead. Viola seeks employment with Count Orsino as a boy after being denied as a lady in waiting for Olivia, and Sebastien takes his sweet time coming to town with the wanted man Antonio. The last two acts of the play are all about confusion of identity and proclamations of love. It’s a bit unbalanced, leaning heavily into Viola’s charade for much of the early par of the book.. What’s more, I was a little bit surprised to find that Sir Toby Belch et al made up quick a lot of the scenes. Shakespeare’s comedic trios more often support the lovers than upstage them (in my interpretations).

As when any play, I found myself assessing the characters and asking myself who I’d want to play. For me, I still fall into the comedy instead of the leads – Viola is very flat and Olivia too changeable for my tastes. This comedic trio was certainly not my favorite, and even though I pinpoint Maria as the mastermind… they’re all bullies. Each of these characters spend a lot of time complaining about Olivia’s court, and go to great pains to make a fool of Malvolio… to the point where’s essentially locked up. It’s in poor tastes, especially from a mental health perspective.

All this said, I am impressed by the care taken in the language. Twelfth Night is certainly witty, for all its flaws. Sometimes, I would find a single line would make me chuckle. Even though the plot is quite predicable (all these comedies follow the same line of new people arrive + avoidable confusion and trickery = marriages galore), the language is impressive even this many years later. Because I’ve read quite a lot of Shakespeare, I don’t have much trouble with the language and some of the antiquated terms, but the Folger’s editions have wonder accompanying explanations for anyone less comfortable with the work.

As a raw piece of material, Twelfth Night is lacking sheerly due to its reliance on problematic material to produce the comedic elements. However, there are some things to be appreciated in the language of the play. It also must be noted that this play is approximately 400 years old, and as such even the problematic elements are ripe for discussion and analysis. If you haven’t experienced Twelfth Night, I would still recommend it as long as you are going in with the knowledge of how outdated the material is, just to experience Shakespeare’s witticism. It’s a short book because it’s a play, so all dialogue. I tend go into most plays with a director’s mindset, imaging the possibilities of how it could unfurl on stage. Twelfth Night is ripe with possibilities. ( )
  Morteana | Mar 8, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (459 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shakespeare, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pritchard, F. H.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Andrews, John F.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Auld, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baker, Herschel ClayEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baldini, Gabrielesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barnet, SylvanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bate, JonathanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bevington, David M.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bjerke, AndréOvers.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Black, Ebenezer CharltonEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Black, JoeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bloom, HaroldContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradley, Jeansecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Branagh, KennethEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Braunmuller, Albert RichardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Campbell, Oscar JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carnevali, FrancescoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Charton, EbenezerEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cone, Helen GrayAdditional Notessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Conejero, Manuel ÁngelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Conolly, LeonardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crewe, Jonathan V.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cusack, NiamhNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dean, Leonard FellowsEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deane, SummerEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deans, NeilIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dent, John CyrilEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
DiNobili, LilaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dobson, MichaelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Donno, Elizabeth StoryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Doppler, FranzTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duff, Anne-MarieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duffin, H. C.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Durband, AlanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eccles, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elam, KeirEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eriksson, Göran O.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farjeon, HerbertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Firth, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fitzpatrick, Lucy M.Notessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flint, KateEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frykman, ErikIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Furness, Horace HowardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gay, PennyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Günther, FrankTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gill, Ericsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gill, RomaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gollancz, IsraelPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gonet, Stellasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guinness, OwenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hagberg, Carl AugustTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hall, PeterIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harbage, AlfredEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, G. B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hart, Walter MorrisEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hodges, C WalterCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holden, William P.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Honigmann, E. A. J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hort, Johnsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Host, Leelasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howard, John H.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hudson, Henry N.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hudson, Henry NormanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huldén, LarsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hulme, A. M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Innes, Arthur D.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kastan, David ScottEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kéry GyörgyAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kellog, BrainardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kittredge, George LymanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klose, DietrichEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Komrij, GerritTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krige, Uyssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
LaMar, Virginia A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lausund, OlavAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, ElizabethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Li, NanaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lisle, RebeccaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lombardo, Agostinosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lothian, John MauleEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lott, Bernardsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mahood, M. A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mahood, M. M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maloney, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McCowen, AlecForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McEachern, ClaireEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKenna, Siobhansecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McPeek, James Andrew ScarboroughEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Melchiori, BarbaraPr.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Melson, Ida E.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morton, Edward P.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mould, ChrisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mowat, Barbara A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murphy, Gerardsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielson, William AllanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nobili, Lila DiIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oliva, SalvadorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Orgel, StephenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Orr, Andrew A.Questions bysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Papp, JosephForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Platz, Norbert H.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prouty, Charles TylerEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quiller-Couch, ArthurIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Radnóti MiklósTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Radspieler, HansAutorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Radspieler, JohannaAutorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raffel, BurtonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rasmussen, EricEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rónay GyörgyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reyes, C. M. deAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ridley, M. R.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robinson, William HeathIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Root, Amandasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Scofield, Paulsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Simon, JosetteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Somogyi, Nick DeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, O. J.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Story Donno, ElizabethEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Unwin, StephenAdaptersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, Candacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warren, RogerEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wells, Stanley W.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werstine, PaulEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, Richard GrantEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wieland, Christoph Martinsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, John Doversecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, RichardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, StanleyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Worrall, AndrewEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, Louis B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
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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.
Feste the Clown: Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid;
Fly away, fl y away, breath;
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
O, prepare it!
My part of death, no one so true
Did share it.
Quotations
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!
what says Quinapalus?
“Better a witty fool, than a foolish wit.”
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This work is for the complete Twelfth Night only. Do not combine this work with abridgements, adaptations or "simplifications" (such as "Shakespeare Made Easy"), Cliffs Notes or similar study guides, or anything else that does not contain the full text. Do not include any video recordings. Additionally, do not combine this with other plays.
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Wikipedia in English (6)

John Dover Wilson's New Shakespeare, published between 1921 and 1966, became the classic Cambridge edition of Shakespeare's plays and poems until the 1980s. The series, long since out-of-print, is now reissued. Each work is available both individually and as a set, and each contains a lengthy and lively introduction, main text, and substantial notes and glossary printed at the back. The edition, which began with The Tempest and ended with The Sonnets, put into practice the techniques and theories that had evolved under the 'New Bibliography'. Remarkably by today's standards, although it took the best part of half a century to produce, the New Shakespeare involved only a small band of editors besides Dover Wilson himself. As the volumes took shape, many of Dover Wilson's textual methods acquired general acceptance and became an established part of later editorial practice, for example in the Arden and New Cambridge Shakespeares.

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Book description
Viola is shipwrecked and dons male clothing to get a job. Cesario (Viola) is sent by Duke Orsino to woo for him the Lady Olivia; Olivia, however, is more interested, and falls in love with Cesario (Viola). (Subplot: Olivia's uncle Toby Belch and cohorts scheme to trick Malvolio into thinking that Olivia favors him.) Meanwhile, Viola's twin brother, thought to be lost at sea, emerges and is swept into marriage with Olivia — and the masquerade is over, to most people's advantage.
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Penguin Australia

2 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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Recorded Books

2 editions of this book were published by Recorded Books.

Editions: 1456100033, 1449889646

 

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