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Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night: or, What You Will

William Shakespeare
Edited, fully annotated, and introduced by Burton Raffel
With an essay by Harold Bloom
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 192
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1npsbw
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  • Book Info
    Twelfth Night
    Book Description:

    Twelfth Nightis one of Shakespeare's funniest plays and also one of his most romantic. A young noblewoman, Viola, shipwrecked in a foreign land and separated from her twin brother, dresses as a man in order to enter the service of Orsino, duke of Illyria. Complications ensue-deceptions, infatuations, misdirected overtures, malevolent pranks-as everyone is drawn into the hilarious confusion.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13471-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ABOUT THIS BOOK
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. xvii-xxvi)

    Those in search of entertainment usually prefer to know, more or less in advance, what sort of entertainment they have chosen and for which they are paying. Those who attend a performance ofThe Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Julietneither expect nor would probably readily accept a song-and-dance farce. Similarly, a performance ofThe Comical History of the Merchant of Venice, or Otherwise Called the Jew of Veniceis not likely to be “lamentable tragedy,” though the unusually long and remarkably detailed title suggests that this “comical history,” too, is not of the song-and-dance variety.

    Shakespeare’s...

  5. SOME ESSENTIALS OF THE SHAKESPEAREAN STAGE
    (pp. xxvii-xxx)
  6. Twelfth Night, or, What You Will
    (pp. 1-144)

    OrsinoIf music be the food of love, play on,

    Give me excess of it, that surfeiting,¹

    The appetite² may sicken, and so die.

    That strain³ again, it had a dying fall.⁴

    O it came o’er⁵ my ear, like the sweet sound

    That breathes upon a bank⁶ of violets,

    Stealing⁷ and giving⁸ odor. Enough, no more,

    ’Tis not so sweet now as it was before. O spirit⁹ of love, how quick and fresh10art thou,

    That notwithstanding11thy capacity

    Receiveth12as the sea,13nought enters there,

    Of what validity and pitch14soe’er,

    But falls into abatement and low price,15

    Even...

  7. AN ESSAY BY HAROLD BLOOM
    (pp. 145-152)

    Clearly a kind of farewell to unmixed comedy,Twelfth Nightnevertheless seems to me much the funniest of Shakespeare’s plays, though I have yet to see it staged in a way consonant with its full humor. As some critics have noted, only Feste the clown among all its characters is essentially sane, and even he allows himself to be dragged into the tormenting of the wretched Malvolio, whose only culpability is that he finds himself in the wrong play, as little at home there as Shylock is in Venice.

    Everything aboutTwelfth Nightis unsettling, except for Feste again, and...

  8. FURTHER READING
    (pp. 153-158)
  9. FINDING LIST
    (pp. 159-161)