The Two Noble Kinsmen (Arden Shakespeare, Third Series)


The content of this edition include a list of the illustrations featured within the text and a preface by the editor on her work with the play.  The thorough introduction discusses the tragicomedy as a genre, the writers thought to have collaborated on this play and the question of its authorship, and the significance of collaboration and censorship in the era when the play was written, as well as other notes on historical context.  The editor goes on to address the public, literary, and theatrical ...

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The Two Noble Kinsmen

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The content of this edition include a list of the illustrations featured within the text and a preface by the editor on her work with the play.  The thorough introduction discusses the tragicomedy as a genre, the writers thought to have collaborated on this play and the question of its authorship, and the significance of collaboration and censorship in the era when the play was written, as well as other notes on historical context.  The editor goes on to address the public, literary, and theatrical contexts within and surrounding the play; the play’s afterlife in theatrical adaptation and academia; and technical notes on editing the drama.  Six appendices follow the text of The Two Noble Kinsmen.  They are: "John Fletcher, 'Upon An Honest Man’s Fortune'"; "The Portrait—Frontispiece of John Fletcher, 1647"; "Francis Beaumont, The Masque of the Inner Temple and Gray’s Inn"; "Beaumont’s 1613 Masque and The Two Noble Kinsmen"; "The Morris"; and "The Music."  Finally, a reference section provides a list of abbreviations and references, a catalog of Shakespeare’s works and works partly by Shakespeare, and citations for the modern productions mentioned in the text, other collated editions of The Two Noble Kinsmen, and other related reading.

The Arden Shakespeare
has developed a reputation as the pre-eminent critical edition of Shakespeare for its exceptional scholarship, reflected in the thoroughness of each volume. An introduction comprehensively contextualizes the play, chronicling the history and culture that surrounded and influenced Shakespeare at the time of its writing and performance, and closely surveying critical approaches to the work. Detailed appendices address problems like dating and casting, and analyze the differing Quarto and Folio sources. A full commentary by one or more of the play’s foremost contemporary scholars illuminates the text, glossing unfamiliar terms and drawing from an abundance of research and expertise to explain allusions and significant background information. Highly informative and accessible, Arden offers the fullest experience of Shakespeare available to a reader.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Scholars and general readers will welcome Potter’s edition...for its balanced discussion of the nature of the collaboration; for its provocative, sometimes quirky introduction and notes; and for its democratic openness to all forms of contemporary interpretation....This edition is a product of the new scholarly respect for dramatic collaboration...Like all Arden3 editions, Potter’s is concerned both with early stagings and with the play’s “afterlife” in later productions...In her section on the text Potter follows other recent Arden editors in leading an inexperienced reader through the basic methods editors use to determine the status and history of a printed play...Potter now takes a distinguished place [among] the long line of previous editors."—Shakespeare Quarterly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781904271185
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 11/29/1996
  • Series: Arden Shakespeare Series
  • Edition description: Third Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 412
  • Sales rank: 700,189
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Lois Potter is a professor at the University of Delware

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations General editors preface Preface INTRODUCTION The genre: tragicomedy The collaborators The authorship question Collaboration and censorship The date Contexts: public Contexts: literary Contexts: theatrical The plays afterlife Text THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN Appendices 1) John Fletcher, Upon An Honest Mans Fortune 2) The Portrait-Frontispiece of John Fletcher, 1647 3) Francis Beaumont, The Masque of the Inner Temple and Grays Inn 4) Beaumonts 1613 Masque and The Two Noble Kinsmen 5) The morris 6) The music Abbreviations and references Index

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2001

    A fine recording of Shakespeare's last play

    The Arkangel Shakespeare series being issued by Penguin Audio is now halfway through the plays and the surprise is that 'The Two Noble Kinsmen' was given preference to the remaining more familiar works. Co-authored by Shakespeare and Fletcher, this play remains an odd man out for several reasons. Based fairly closely on the 'Knight's Tale' from Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales,' it tells of two cousins, who just after swearing eternal friendship in one of Duke Theseus' prisons immediately fall in love with the same woman, Emilia, and become bitter rivals for her affections. One of them, Arcite, is exiled but returns in disguise; the other, Palamon, escapes with the help of the Jailer's Daughter, who goes mad for love of him; and¿well, see for yourself. Of the play's 23 scenes, 7 and part of an 8th are attributed to Shakespeare, a 9th doubtfully so, and the rest to John Fletcher, who was probably handed over to Shakespeare to learn the ropes as it were. The Shakespeare parts are easy to spot: they are nearly impossible to understand without a heavily annotated copy of the text open before you! Even more so than in his late plays like 'Cymberline' and 'Winter's Tale,' the syntax is so complex, the thoughts so condensed, that one might (and has) compared his writing with the late Beethoven String Quartets. As one of the scholars quoted in the excellent Signet Classic paperback edition of this play comments, the play is most unShakespearean in that none of the characters change over the course of the play. And I should add the subplot of the Daughter's madness is never integrated into the main plot. One scene, in fact, is devoted entirely to the description of some minor characters and might have been influenced by a similar and much longer sequence in 'Seven Against Thebes.' In short, do not play this for a casual listen; but be prepared to be challenged. Look especially for echoes of the earlier all-Shakespearean plays. The nuptials of Theseus and Hippolyta recall the opening scenes of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' the main plot that of 'Two Gentlemen of Verona,' the Daughter's madness of Ophelia, and so on. As for the actual recording, it would be difficult to better it! The voices of the two kinsmen (Johnathan Firth and Nigel Cooke) are easily distinguishable, Theseus (Geoffrey Whitehead) sounds advanced in years and noble, Emila (Helen Schlesinger) mature and alert, Hippolyta (Adjoa Andoh) vocally of African origins as perhaps befits the character, and all the rest as understandable as the text allows and 'into' their roles. Thank you, Penguin, for this noble entry in a series that is getting better and better.

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