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The Winter's Tale: The Oxford Shakespeare (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 17 Apr 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New Ed edition (17 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199535914
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199535910
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 1.5 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 221,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


Product Description

Amazon Review

One of Shakespeare's most haunting and enigmatic late plays, The Winter's Tale is a fine example of Shakespeare's fascination with the dramatic genre of "romance"--the portrayal of magical lands, familial conflict and exile, and final reunion and reconciliation. Drawing on Robert Green's story Pandosto, Shakespeare's play tells the story of the middle-aged Leontes, King of Sicilia, and his childhood friend Polixenes, the King of Bohemia. Leontes mistakenly believes that his friend is having an affair with his wife, Hermione. In his jealousy, and consumed by "tremor cordis", he tries to murder Polixenes, who flees, and accuses his wife of adultery. Hermione gives birth to a baby girl, Perdita, who Leontes denounces as illegitimate, and casts her out into the wilderness. Hermione is ultimately proved innocent, but her son, Mamillius, dies of grief. Hermione collapses, apparently dead, and Leontes is left to pick up the tragic consequences of his actions. Time passes, and the action moves to Bohemia, where the lost child Perdita has grown up a shepherdess in the midst of "great creating nature". The final scenes of the play draw towards resolution and reconciliation between Leontes, Hermione and their lost daughter, culminating in one of Shakespeare's most moving final scenes. One of Shakespeare's most consummate plays, The Winter's Tale is a fascinating study of male insecurity and the relations between art and nature. --Jerry Brotton. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Review

a valuable edition of The Winter's Tale. ... this is a well-focused and helpful edition. (Paul Hammond, Review of English Studies)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
If you shall chance, Camillo, to visit Bohemia on the like occasion whereon my services are now on foot, you shall see, as I have said, great difference betwixt our Bohemia and your Sicilia. Read the first page
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Libertina Grimm on 3 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like Shakespeare, I really, really do. At school, I was one of the few who actively was quite joyful when we went to see his works acted out, or read them in class, so I don't want people to think I just "don't get him". But, I struggled a bit to see this as one story. The first act was excellent, dark and intense and a certain character was delightfully hateable. However, after the first act, it just all went very down hill for me. I know I'm not expecting realism here, but the whole plot just became a little too far fetched by the final scene, especially the very ending (you'll know what I mean if you've read it).
On the whole, it's worth a read, but it definitely isn't my favourite Shakespeare, by a long way. Aside from "Exit, pursued by a bear", of course.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. F. Cayley on 27 May 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a superb edition of Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale". The comprehensive introduction gives a good overview of the history of the play, and critical approaches to it. The notes - set out on the same page as the text - elucidate difficult passages, give glosses on words no longer current in the English language, and list possible variant readings. The appendices include the full text of Shakespeare's main source.

The play is a masterpiece of Shakespeare's final period, full of moving poetry and effective drama. It is probably easier to appreciate today than it was a few decades ago, because we have become used to modern plays which do not follow the conventions of realism.

The text of the play itself is in an easy to read format. Some may find the typeface for the notes a little on the small side, though the font is clear: but having them on the same page as the text is convenient.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By White owl on 21 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was very glad to get this free of charge, and enjoyed reading it. I will recommend it to my friends. Thank you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carol on 12 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As this is an e-book it was delivered within 30 seconds. As it is Shakespeare it's a good yarn. Not sure how you are supposed to review this type of book!
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By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 11 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
One of Shakespeare's late plays, this is a strange mix of tragedy, romance and a kind of comedy. As others have said, the linguistic sub-structure is complex and calls up various classical myths which are played out here but with a twist: Proserpina and the return of Spring; Pygmalion; the changeling/foundling myth which is used, for example, in Oedipus; and also hints and echoes of many of Shakespeare's own plays especially Othella, King Lear and Hamlet, as well as references to Henry VIII's marriage problems.

It's useful to have Greene's original Pandosto to see what Shakespeare does with this specific source and, especially, the way he writes out the incest theme.

So a more difficult and sophisticated play that it at first appears to be, and the ostensible happy ending doesn't quite succeed in wiping out the darkness at its heart.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
"The Winter's Tale" is one of Shakespeare's most underrated works, probably because it can't be easily classified as a romance or a comedy. That's a shame, because this lush, emotionally-wrenching little play displays Shakespeare's powerful writing and fine grasp of human nature. It's just incredibly moving and exquisitely written.

Polixenes, the King of Bohemia, has been visiting his pal King Leontes in Sicilia, and eventually he wants to go home. But after Queen Hermione convinces him to stay awhile, Leontes suddenly goes nuts and decides that Polixenes and Hermione have been having an affair, and that her unborn child must be his old friend's. Polixenes flees back to his own land, and Hermione dies soon after her newborn daughter is abandoned in the wilderness.

Of course, Leontes soon finds out that he was off his gourd, and that poor Hermione was completely innocent. Charming, isn't he? Sixteen years later, Polixenes' son Florizel falls in love with a mysterious young shepherdess, who is actually Leontes' daughter Perdita (of course!). But with royal opposition to their marriage, the young couple must overcome many obstacles before everything is settled happily.

"A Winter's Tale" is a curious hybrid of Shakespeare's different theatrical "types" -- there's some gentle comedy, some mellow tragedy, and a hefty dose of romance. The first three acts are basically one long disaster, with Leontes' crazy paranoia destroying his friendships, marriage and children's lives, until it seems that there's no happy ending for anybody.

But the last few acts are very different. Shakespeare's writing takes on a more romantic, sweet tone, particularly when Florizel and Perdita are lavishing lovers' praise on each other ("My prettiest Perdita!
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By noddy on 25 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
haven't read this for years, it's good to have some Shakespeare plays as free books on the kindle to reread them again.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a compelling short story with twists and a bit of fun. Just lacking the extra star as would have liked notes with it. Nevertheless a very good read!
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