Twelfth Night is one of the most accessible and yet elusive of Shakespeare's plays. It has enjoyed enormous popularity in performance, but it continues to challenge students. This guide provides a thorough introduction to the play. Included are chapters on the play's background, contexts, themes, dramatic art, critical reception, and performance history. The volume cites current scholarship and closes with a bibliography.
Twelfth Night is one of the most accessible yet elusive of Shakespeare's plays. It has enjoyed enormous popularity in performance, but it continues to challenge students. It has experienced numerous revivals and has provoked some of the most brilliant critical responses from Shakespeare's critics. Written for students and general readers, this guide is a comprehensive introduction to Shakespeare's play.
The volume begins with a look at the play's textual history. This is followed by an exploration of its historical and cultural contexts and its sources and analogues. The book next turns to Shakespeare's dramatic art and then examines his themes of identity, sexuality, and madness. The final chapters look at the critical response to the play and give special attention to the play's performance history. The guide closes with a bibliography.
John R. Ford is Assistant Professor of English at Delta State University. His work has appeared in such journals as The Upstart Crow, Shakespeare Bulletin, and Shakespeare and the Classroom.
"Although one of Shakespeare's most popular plays, Twelfth Night continues to challenge readers and audiences. Aimed at students and general readers, this companion to the play describes its textual history and considers its historical and cultural contexts. Ford also looks at the play's dramatic structure and major themes before exploring various critical approaches. The final chapter focuses on Twelfth Night in performance." - Reference & Research Book News
"A thorough and detailed introduction to one of the most frequently studied and performed plays in the Shakespeare canon. The book includes discussions of the textual history of the play, its historical context and structure and themes….Because the critical discussions are so scholarly and detailed, this volume would be most useful to teachers and to students in AP or college classes." - School Library Journal
"Plenty of other titles have offered critical analysis: what makes this one different is its inclusion of the play's textual history and changes, explanations of underlying history and influence, and a gathering of criticism and analogues under one cover. The inclusion of the sum of critical thinking about Twelfth Night makes A Guide to the Play an essential addition to any serious high school or college-level collection where Shakespeare's works are studied." - The Midwest Book Review - California Bookwatch