As You Like it
As You Like It, Shakespeare's most lighthearted comedy and one of the best-loved and most performed of all his plays, was probably written in 1599 or 1600, though it was not printed until the First Folio of 1623. As its witty heroine is Shakespeare's longest female role, the play's performance history is marked by notable Rosalinds, from Hannah Pritchard and Margaret Woffington (giving rival performances in 1741), to Helen Faucit, Ada Rehan, Peggy Ashcroft, Katharine Hepburn, Vanessa Redgrave, Ronald Pickup (in an all-male production of 1967), Juliet Stevenson, and many others. In his introduction to this new edition Alan Brissenden suggests reasons for its delayed publication and discusses in detail how productions have changed radically over the years. Shakespeare's use of his sources, his handling of the themes of love, doubleness, and pastoral are also dealt with, as well as the significance of boys playing women's parts on the Elizabethan stage. Detailed annotations explain allusions, puns, and difficult passages, enabling student, reader, actor, and director to savour the humour and the seriousness of the play to the full. There are illustrations, and appendices on 'wit' and the songs, for which the earliest known music is printed.
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