Much Ado About Nothing boasts one of Shakespeare's most delightful heroines, most dancing wordplay, and the endearing spectacle of intellectual and social self-importance bested by the desire to love and be loved in return. It offers both the dancing wit of the "merry war" between the sexes, and a sobering vision of the costs of that combat for both men and women. Shakespeare dramatizes a social world in all of its vibrant particulars, in which characters are shaped by the relations between social convention and individual choice.This edition of the play offers in its introduction and commentary an extensive discussion of the materials that informed Shakespeare's compositional choices, both those conventional sources and other contexts, from cuckold jokes to conduct books, which inform the ideas and identities of this play. Particular attention is devoted to Renaissance understandings of gender identity and social rank, as well as to the social valences of Shakespeare's stylistic choices.
A treatment of staging possibilities offers illustrations drawn from the earliest and recent theatrical practices, and a critical history examines the fate of the play in the changing trends of academic scholarship. "The text is superb...the critical introduction is predictably smart and engaging, exactly the sort of essay one would recommend to students."Eric Rasmussen, Shakespeare Survey
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 386 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 20 mm
The text is superb . . . the critical introduction is predictably smart and engaging, exactly the sort of essay one would recommend to students. "Eric Rasmussen, Shakespeare Survey"
The notes are a pleasure to read; glosses are adept and concise, without windy disquisitions on alternative meanings. Many longer entries are fascinating...Graceful concision also marks the notes on performance and theatrical history...Deftly deploys a combination of linguistic and literary analysis, theater history, and textual commentary...give[s] the reader a sense of the whole play as alive and ever changing, with many intriguing possibilities for interpretation, capably set out within the frame she has created. "Shakespeare Quarterly""