As You Like It (Folger Shakespeare Library)
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Readers and audiences have long greeted As You Like It with delight. Its characters are brilliant conversationalists, including the princesses Rosalind and Celia and their Fool, Touchstone. Soon after Rosalind and Orlando meet and fall in love, the princesses and Touchstone go into exile in the Forest of Arden, where they find new conversational partners. Duke Frederick, younger brother to Duke Senior, has overthrown his brother and forced him to live homeless in the forest with his courtiers, including the cynical Jaques. Orlando, whose older brother Oliver plotted his death, has fled there, too.
Recent scholars have also grounded the play in the issues of its time. These include primogeniture, passing property from a father to his oldest son. As You Like It depicts intense conflict between brothers, exposing the human suffering that primogeniture entails. Another perspective concerns cross-dressing. Most of Orlando’s courtship of Rosalind takes place while Rosalind is disguised as a man, “Ganymede.” At her urging, Orlando pretends that Ganymede is his beloved Rosalind. But as the epilogue reveals, the sixteenth-century actor playing Rosalind was male, following the practice of the time. In other words, a boy played a girl playing a boy pretending to be a girl.
The authoritative edition of As You Like It from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, includes:
-Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play
-Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play
-Scene-by-scene plot summaries
-A key to the play’s famous lines and phrases
-An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language
-An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play
-Fresh images from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s vast holdings of rare books
-An annotated guide to further reading
Essay by Susan Snyder
The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, is home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit Folger.edu.
him Methought he was a brother to your daughter: But, my good lord, this boy is forest-born, And hath been tutored in the rudiments31 Of many desperate32 studies by his uncle, Whom he reports to be a great magician, Enter Clown [Touchstone] and Audrey Obscurèd in the circle34 of this forest. JAQUES There is, sure, another flood toward35, and these couples are coming to the ark. Here comes a pair of very strange beasts, which in all tongues37 are called fools.
dominated by the succession of talented actors who have played the demanding role of Rosalind. The identity of the boy actor who originated the part is not known, although the scholar T. W. Baldwin speculated on the original casting of Shakespeare’s company, the Chamberlain’s Men, suggesting Richard Burbage played Orlando, with Henry Condell as Oliver, John Heminges as Duke Senior, Richard Cowley as William, Thomas Pope as Jaques, Robert Armin as Touchstone, and Shakespeare himself possibly as
SHAKESPEARE’S CAREER IN THE THEATER BEGINNINGS William Shakespeare was an extraordinarily intelligent man who was born and died in an ordinary market town in the English Midlands. He lived an uneventful life in an eventful age. Born in April 1564, he was the eldest son of John Shakespeare, a glove maker who was prominent on the town council until he fell into financial difficulties. Young William was educated at the local grammar in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, where he gained a
Theatre Company 1960–1963, ed. John Goodwin (1964). 92. Gascoigne, Spectator, 14 July 1961. 93. J. W. Lambert, Sunday Times, 9 July 1961, quoted in Gay, As She Likes It. 94. Noel Witts, Plays and Players, Vol. 25, No. 2, November 1977. 95. Nicholas de Jongh, Evening Standard, 23 April 1992. 96. Fiona Shaw and Juliet Stevenson, “Celia and Rosalind in As You Like It,” in Players of Shakespeare 2, ed. Russell Jackson and Robert Smallwood (1988). 97. Benedict Nightingale, New Statesman. 98.
batler wooden club (for beating wet laundry) 44 dugs teats 44 chopt chapped 45 milked plays on the sense of “caused to ejaculate” 45 peascod pea pod (with genital connotations; a reversal of “codpiece”) 46 cods pods/testicles 47 Wear plays on the sense of “have sex with, exhaust” 48 capers frolicsome leaps/fornications 49 mortal subject to decay (sense then shifts to “only human”) 50 ware aware (puns on wear; Touchstone shifts the sense to “wary”) 51 wit possible play on “penis” 54