The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Arden Shakespeare, Third Series)

The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Arden Shakespeare, Third Series)

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by William Shakespeare
     
 

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The Two Gentlemen of Verona is commonly agreed to be Shakespeare's first comedy, and probably his first play. A comedy built around the confusions of doubling, cross-dressing, and identity, it is also a play about the ideal of male friendship and what happens to those friendships when men fall in love.

William Carroll's engaging introduction focuses on the

Overview

The Two Gentlemen of Verona is commonly agreed to be Shakespeare's first comedy, and probably his first play. A comedy built around the confusions of doubling, cross-dressing, and identity, it is also a play about the ideal of male friendship and what happens to those friendships when men fall in love.

William Carroll's engaging introduction focuses on the traditions and sources that stand behind the play and explores Shakespeare's unique and bold treatment of them. Carroll first explores the early modern discourse of male friendship and relates it to the play's unsettling ending. Special attention is given to the strong female figure of Julia and the controversial final scene. He goes on to discuss various other relevant topics: the influence of the Prodigal Son story on the play, the problem of using a boy in drag (for the first time in a Shakespearean comedy) to depict Julia, and Shakespeare's debt to Ovid and John Lyly in using the theme of metamorphosis. Next, the editor explores the use of letters; the portrayal and breed of Crab, the play's infamous dog; the complex geography of the story; and the play's dramaturgy. Carroll concludes with an extensive look at the play's theatrical and critical afterlife, and a discussion of the original text and date. This edition of The Two Gentlemen of Verona also includes one appendix (a casting chart), and a list of abbreviations and references.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781903436943
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date:
03/18/2004
Series:
Arden Shakespeare Series
Edition description:
3RD
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
1.11(w) x 1.11(h) x 1.11(d)

Meet the Author


William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an English dramatist, poet, and actor, generally regarded as the greatest playwright of all time.

William C. Caroll is professor of English at Boston University. He has published widely in English Renaissance literature, including The Great Feast of Language in LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST (1976), The Metamorphoses of Shakespearean Comedy (1985), and Fat King, Lean Beggar: Representations of Poverty in the Age of Shakespeare (1996). He has also edited Thomas Middleton's play Women Beware Women (1994). He has held senior fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1980 he was awarded the Metcalf Cup and Prize as the outstanding teacher at Boston University.

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The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Oxford Shakespeare Series) 1.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although few would claim that Two Gentlemen of Verona is one of Shakespeare¿s greatest plays, it is well worth reading in order to serve as a reference for the best of his romantic comedies. In essence, Two Gentlemen of Verona gives you a measuring stick to see the brilliance in the best works. The play has the first of Shakespeare¿s many brave, resourceful and cross-dressing heroines, Julia. Shakespeare always used his fools and clowns well to make serious statements about life and love, and to expose the folly of the nobles. Two Gentlemen of Verona has two very fine comic scenes featuring Launce. In one, he lists the qualities of a milk maid he has fallen in love with and helps us to see that love is blind and relative. In another, he describes the difficulties he has delivering a pet dog to Silvia on his master, Proteus¿, behalf in a way that will keep you merry on many a cold winter¿s evening. The story also has one of the fastest plot resolutions you will ever find in a play. Blink, and the play is over. This nifty sleight of hand is Shakespeare¿s way of showing that when you get noble emotions and character flowing together, things go smoothly and naturally. The overall theme of the play develops around the relative conflicts that lust, love, friendship, and forgiveness can create and overcome. Proteus is a man who seems literally crazed by his attraction to Silvia so that he loses all of his finer qualities. Yet even he can be redeemed, after almost doing a most foul act. The play is very optimistic in that way. I particularly enjoy the plot device of having Proteus and Julia (pretending to be a page) playing in the roles of false suitors for others to serve their own interests. Fans of Othello will enjoy these foreshadowings of Iago. The words themselves can be a bit bare at times, requiring good direction and acting to bring out the full conflict and story. For that reason, I strongly urge you to see the play performed first. If that is not possible, do listen to an audio recording as you read along. That will help round out the full atmosphere that Shakespeare was developing here. After you finish Two Gentlemen of Verona, think about where you would honor friendship above love, where equal to love, and where below love. Is friendship less important than love? Or is friendship merely less intense? Can you experience both with the same person? Enjoy close ties of mutual commitment . . . with all those you feel close to! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The 2,000 Percent Solution and The Irresistible Growth Enterprise
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sound like a creeps behind me when i read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beware, this version is not formatted properly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's weird
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is probably his worst play. Possibly the merry wives of winsor, but i think this is worse. First of all, it was white-supremasist, christain supremacist, and sexist. The final scene was a disturbance, and where was the death? It was a comedy, but it wasnt good. Shakespeare is the greatest writer of all time, but that is based on Hamlet, Othello, Merchant of Venice (my favorite comedy) and Romeo and Juliet (i believe it is his best work). Any Chekhov, Sophocles, Ibsen, or Arthur Miller is better than most of Shakespeare's plays. This was an experimental comedy, but not one of his better ones. Very dissapointing, read Merchant of Venice first.