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Twelfth Night (Cambridge School Shakespeare) Paperback – 14 Oct 1993


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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; New edition edition (14 Oct. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521435366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521435369
  • Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 1.1 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


Product Description

Amazon Review

One of Shakespeare's finest comedies, Twelfth Night was written at the same time as Hamlet and Troilus and Cressida, and whilst it shares their fascination with sex, death and confused identities, its exuberant comedy and linguistic inventiveness rises above the introspection of these plays. Viola and her twin brother Sebastian are separated in a storm, which washes them both up at different points on the shores of Illyria. Believing each other to be dead, both attempt to survive by using their wits. Viola cross-dresses and enters the service of the lovesick Orsino, in love with Olivia, an heiress in mourning for the loss of her brother. Orsino's saucy young page Cesario (Viola) soon falls in love with "his" master, who tells "him", "all is semblative a woman's part". Unfortunately, whilst Viola falls in love with Orsino, Olivia falls in love with her alter ego, Cesario, whilst also being pursued at the same time by her pompous servant Malvolio. Olivia's house is also turned upside down by the antics of her drunken uncle, Sir Toby Belch, and the whole crazy situation reaches boiling point when Sebastian reappears.

Despite the madcap plot, Twelfth Night remains one of Shakespeare's most complex and inventive comedies, fascinated with questions of cross-dressing, gender confusion, language and inversion, as well as retaining a darker edge to some of its laughter. --Jerry Brotton

Review

'refreshing and of immense practical use ... Sources and provenances are fascinatingly discussed.'Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post Weekend

The commentary on Twelfth Night is alive with the editors' feeling for the play in performance. (M.M. Mahoud, University of Kent, YES, 27, 1996) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Matt Eeley on 30 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the edition if you are new to Shakespeare. It presents the play in an easy to understand way with useful notes and commentary. However it is overtly simplistic and lacks the in depth analysis that this great play deserves.
This is one of Shakespeare's most interesting and entertaining comedies. Enjoy.
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Format: Paperback
Here Shakespeare borrows as so often in his comedies, from Plautus for the overarching plot--the separated siblings, the twinning (recall his Errors, and the Menaechmi), the arrival from sea. But he adds so much as to make it unrecognizable as a Roman comedy. He adds an attractive drunk, Sir Toby, who fleeces a silly aristocrat who--perhaps alone in literature-- knows himself to be silly. He adds, for instance, a parody of Renaissance psychiatry (well, more theology, but since "psyche" in Greek is both "soul" and "mind," that's fair) practiced on Shakespeare's only American. Instead of the common psyche ward question, "What does 'the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence' mean to you?" Feste as Reverend Psychiatrist asks, "What is the opinion of Pythagoras concerning the soul?" Remember, you can't get out of the psyche ward unless you answer right. Well, Malvolio DOES get it right, he hits it out of the park, but Feste keeps him in lockdown anyway. Why?
Herein lies a tale. Malvolio is portrayed as stark raving mad simply because he wants to marry the boss's daughter--or really, the boss herself. A crazy idea. An American idea, one that would take a couple centuries and a Revolution to be accepted by anybody at all. Those rejects on the other side of the Atlantic.
Yes, Malvolio is Shakespeare's only American (except possibly Othello?). And he is indeed, as he himself pleads at plays end, notoriously abused. He vows revenge on the whole pack--which we, as delighted playgoers, cannot support, though justice, and America, are on his side. [See A Powers' "Rings and Vows in TN" in Schiffer, Twelfth Night: New Critical Essays, 2010.)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Dec. 2009
Format: Audio CD
The Arkangel Shakespeare recordings vary a lot in quality, and this isn't one of the best...unfortunate, as 'Twelfth Night' is one of Shakespeare's most musical plays both in atmosphere and versification, and really needs to be heard aloud.

Viola is one of my favourite female Shakespeare characters (much more likable than the female characters in 'As You Like It', with which this play is often compared) but here is rendered unsympathetically. Olivia is much better acted, and the actress who plays Olivia should probably have been Viola, while the one who played Maria would have made a better Olivia.

The clown sings well, but his voice is wrong - too educated and frigid to evoke a sense of wry, aching melancholy. Sir Toby Belch is particularly annoying - a cackling idiot rather than the Falstaffian scallywag of old. Malvolio is suitably puritanical, more arrogant than in some other versions. His arrogance does make him comical in the scenes where he 'woos' Olivia, and the cellar scene is definitely funny and vivid.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stacie on 18 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
These notes are good for GCSE level, but they didn't serve greatly when I used it at A Level. I'd recommend, but only for a more advanced understanding for GCSE.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By V. J. Leventis on 23 Oct. 2004
Format: Paperback
This could have been better but I have high expectancies. Overall this made a lot of vital, relevant points that you couldn't have pointed out if you were feeling a bit brain dead (like I am constantly when writing essays). Nevertheless, I feel there could have been more detail.
The sample essay titles at the back were quite handy, the chapter summaries and analysises were very useful, the little facts at the side about pleasing the examiners and stuff were pretty groovy, and also the tasks really help to revise and improve understanding of the chpaters. If you struggle with Twelfth Night or just want a good notes book about it then get this!
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27 of 36 people found the following review helpful By rondora on 21 Nov. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I was impressed by the whole Kindle experience, but NOT very impressed by the quality of the words in this free edition of 'Twelfth Night':

'O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound,'

is how I remembered it, but this Kindle Version has:

'O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet south,'

Not a lot of help, if one is studying the text for an examination. Does Amazon/Kindle have any responsibility for the quality of the Kindle-branded editions they make available?
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By noddy on 25 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
was going to see this as an outdoor experience but unfortunately owing to the vagaries of the british weather it was rained off. However this was a useful free book to go over before I see
the play as had forgotten most of it since reading it at school several decades ago.
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By Debbie on 12 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Book not read as yet, ordered because I am going to see play, it was downloaded with ease.
Good price
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