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on 8 March 2017
Find Shakespeare quite a challenge but after reading it several times I really was engrossed and enjoyed it.
Needed to read it because I was going to a production of The Winters Tale at the Lyceum in Edinburgh. Brilliant production and now I am awakened to Shakespeare after 50 years Read Romeo and Juliet for O level and Othello for A level
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on 15 May 2017
incredible value for money - prompt delivery too
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on 24 September 2017
Easier to read than most of Shakespeare's plays but I did not like that a lot of the climax was offstage
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on 15 October 2017
In the condition stated when I bought it so am satisfied
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on 22 May 2017
didnt realise it was that big
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on 30 July 2017
Very good.
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on 13 March 2017
very good
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 November 2009
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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on 27 May 2010
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 The notes - set out on the same page as the text - elucidate difficult passages, give glosses on words no longer current in the English language, and list possible variant readings.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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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 August 2011
"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!/But O, the thorns we stand upon!"). Having worked up a massive tragedy in the first parts of the play, Shakespeare spends the latter half repairing all the cracks in the characters' lives.

If there's a flaw in the story, it's that Hermione is so in love with a crazy belfry-bat like Leontes, but I suppose his story is meant to show the folly of letting suspicions rule your actions. Florizel and Perdita are charmingly earnest young lovers who initially know nothing of their parents' tragic past, and there are solid supporting characters like the thief Autolycus and the steadfast Camillo.

"The Winter's Tale" is an emotionally wrenching but eventually uplifting story, and a roller-coaster ride that plunges you down into tragedy before hoisting you back up.
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