With its explorations of sexual ambivalence, As You Like It speaks directly to the twenty-first century. Juliet Dusinberre demonstrates that Rosalind's authority in the play grows from new ideas about women and reveals that Shakespeare's heroine reinvents herself for every age. But the play is also deeply rooted in Elizabethan culture, and through it Shakespeare addresses some of the hotly debated issues of the period. Dusinberre's introduction begins with a brief analysis of the play to preface a vast and thorough exploration of characters, cultural context, sources, setting, staging, literary and legendary influences, themes of love, politics, and gender, and more. Images, illustrations, and a casting and doubling chart appear throughout the introduction and within the five appendices.
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.
About the Author
Juliet Dusinberre is the author of the pioneering work in feminist criticism, Shakespeare and the Nature of Women, of Virginia Woolf's Renaissance: Woman Reader or Common Reader?, and of Alice to the Lighthouse: Children's Books and Radical Experiments in Art. She is a Fellow of Girton College, Cambridge, and was its first M.C. Bradbrook Fellow in English.
"Arden editions have traditionally served as primary texts for many scholars...an Arden editor must present an overview of the play's criticism [and] must also take into account the play's ongoing dissemination through performance on stage and screen. Despite these arduous demands, Dusinberre's edition, with its editorial apparatus, its substantial introduction (142 pages), its notes, and its various appendices, fulfills the above requirements admirably...Dusinberre addresses a theater history that bears witness to the impact that various social movements, especially feminism and gay/lesbian (and now queer) activism, have had on the performance of one of Shakespeare's most gender-bending plays...It inscribes the feminist, queer, and historicist criticism of the past thirty years into the historical memory of Shakespeare studies."—Shakespeare Quarterly