Customer Reviews of Twelfth Night; or, What You Will
Twelfth Night plus helpful notes
Although I have yet to read this book, I purchased it for an MA Shakespeare course. It is a dense book with lots of information. I have begun reading it, but there is a lot of material and information. It does provide helpful information on Twelfth Night.
Arden, in general, has the definitive series for those studying or teaching Shakespeare. The footnotes are very valuable resources for the language, history, and even staging of the plays. If you only have room or money for one set of Shakepeare's plays, make Arden your choice.
Twelfth Night is a Twelve out of Ten
Originally written by William Shakespeare and retold by Bruce Coville, Twelfth Night is a wonderful book. Coville really captures the Shakespearean feel of the original in this delightful picture book. The story revolves around a young woman named Viola. The story begins as Viola finds herself in an unfamiliar land with no means of food or shelter. To survive in this new place she dresses as a man to go and work for the duke of the land, Orsino. It is not long before Viola develops strong feelings for the kind duke. However, Orsino is already infatuated with Lady Olivia. Orsino sends Viola to Lady Olivia to deliver his letters professing his love to her. Upon meeting the gentle messenger Olivia falls in love with her. Little does anyone know that the messenger is indeed a woman! It is all a crazy mess that is both comical and entertaining. Anyone looking for quality entertainment could find it in this great book.
Funny and Witty-A Comedy of Errors
This is a very funny play by Shakespeare. It's very complicated, but the plot is sound. In the play, a shipwrecked woman pretends to be a man and falls in love with the Duke, for whom she is working. Her name is Viola. The Duke is madly in love with Count Olivia. He sends Viola to try to woo her in his name. Instead, Olivia falls in love with Viola, thinking she is a man. The plot thickens when Sebastion, Viola's twin brother, steps in. It is hilarious and has a fantastic ending, not to mention the Clown and other minor characters.
Neil Freeman edits the First Folio, showing how much "cleaning up" by most mosern text is unnecessary, and in fact, holds back information from the actor, director, and reader. Modern editors, even respected ones like the Arden, assume that Shakespeare couldn't have possibly meant to vary from the 10 syllable line and try to "correct" his "mistakes." To assume that Shakespeare was wrong and we are right is foolhardy, and Freeman's editions prove it.