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As You Like It [Paperback]

William Shakespeare
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 18 1998 0486404323 978-0486404325
Unjustly deposed by his younger brother, the rightful duke retreats to the Forest of Arden and forms a utopia with his loyal followers while his daughter remains at court as a companion to her cousin. When forbidden romance enters their lives, the girls assume disguises and flee to the forest, where they encounter a magical world of friendly outlaws and wise fools. Both a lighthearted comedy and a deeper exploration of social and literary issues, this play features a memorable cast of characters and some of Shakespeare's finest poetry.

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Product Description


An excellent introduction to Shakespeare for the junior reader.—The School Librarian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

John Dover Wilson's New Shakespeare, published between 1921 and 1966, became the classic Cambridge edition of Shakespeare's plays and poems until the 1980s. The series, long since out-of-print, is now reissued. Each work contains a lengthy and lively introduction, main text, and substantial notes and glossary. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars darn fine, dirt cheap March 27 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Whew...this story has an even faster plot turn about than Austen's Pride and Prejudice. If one is not careful, you--like me, may suffer "plausibility whiplash." That said, As You Like It is a delightful example of Shakespearean comedy. Jaques is one of my favorites from Shakespeare's stable of characters. Things get renewed, folks get married, fortunes are restored. Good Stuff. I must also mention how much I like these Signet Classic Shakespeare texts. They are darn fine (good intros, critical pieces, and source info) and dirt cheap.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Idyllic play - for romantics Nov. 20 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This has to be one of Shakespeare's gayest plays (no pun intended). Whatever tragedy may have occurred in the beginning - at the court - is totally forgotten when the action moves to the forest, where Robin-hood like; a banished duke, a melancholy philosopher and a cast of love sick characters act out their lives on the stage.
Much of the play is centered on Rosalind - the female lead in 'drag' - who falls in love with the third son of a nobleman, Orlando, who has been cheated out of his inheritance by his eldest brother. Her father, the duke, has also been cheated by a brother and is now living in the forest with his 'merry men'. Her short stay at court is disrupted when her uncle changes his mind about her and 'graciously' gives her a few days to get out of the kingdom. This event leads to her escape into the forests with her cousin, the daughter of the duke at Court. As the play progresses more and more characters end up in the forest which becomes the stage where all these actors play out their parts - to paraphrase Jacques.
As a reader you sometimes have to suspend rationality in order to swallow some of the larger than life events that occur in this story (The snake - Lion - Lion killer scene for example). It's not meant to be taken too seriously I'd imagine, just a play about love and romance and the lengths one will go to because of love. The only rational person in this play seems to be the Malvolio-like Jacques, whose deer hugging antiques (forerunner of modern day Environmentalism?) and refusal to take part in the revelry make him the butt of the other's jokes. Even the clown seems to have been pierced by Cupid's arrows as he too weds a country 'wench', something unheard of in the other plays where the clowns all seem to be eunuchs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio Cassette
As You Like It has many qualities to attract readers and audiences. Rosalind is one of the great heroines of all romantic literature. The play has more outstanding speeches than almost any other that has ever been written. Astonishing plot complications are quickly resolved in the simplest possible way, reflecting a playwright's tour de force. The Forest of Arden appears as a character in creating a magical atmosphere whereby all perceptions change, and all are healed. Right wins out, especially in drawing on good character . . . even from formerly badly behaving people. And for those who love marriages, this book has one of the most impressive ceremonies of all time in literature. Humans have never looked nobler in the end than in this play. Yet the play also abounds with some of the greatest lines of Shakespeare's fools that cause all of us to see that humility is more called for than pride or ambition. Certainly, As You Like It will make you feel the presence of an unmatched genius, that should inspire even the most arrogant to feel humbled in the Bard's presence.
My recommendation is that you first see a performance (whether in person, or on a recording). If that's not possible, try for an audio. Many outstanding actors have been taped. After you have the sights and sounds of the play firmly in mind, then read the play. You'll find that your earlier experiences will unlock more of the play's depths, imagery and pleasures for you.
Where in life is being true to your word very important? How can you improve your life by being more reliable in this way?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
'As you like it' is one of those Shakespearean plays that is considered 'great' by critics, but never really found true popular acclaim, perhaps due to the absence of charismatic characters (the romantic hero is particularly wet) or compelling dilemmas.
It shares many features with the great comedies - the notion of the forest as a magic or transformative space away from tyrannical society ('A Midsummer night's dream'); the theme of unrequited love and gender switching from 'Twelfth night'; the exiled Duke and his playful daughter from 'The Tempest'. But these comparisons only point to 'AYLI''s comparative failure (as a reading experience anyway) - it lacks the magical sense of play of the first; the yearning melancholy of the second; or the elegiac complexity of the third.
It starts off brilliantly with a first act dominated by tyrants: an heir who neglects his younger brother, and a Duke who resents the popularity of his exiled brother's daughter (Rosalind). there is an eccentric wrestling sequence in which a callow youth (Orlando) overthrows a giant. Then the good characters are exiled to Arden searching for relatives and loved ones.
Theoretically, this should be good fun, and you can see why post-modernist critics enjoy it, with its courtiers arriving to civilise the forest in the language of contemporary explorers, and the gender fluidity and role-play; but, in truth, plot is minimal, with tiresomely pedantic 'wit' to the fore, especially when the melancholy scholar-courtier Jacques and Fool Touchstone are around, with the latter's travesties of classical learning presumably hilarious if you're an expert on Theocritus and the like.
As an English pastoral, 'AYLI' doesn't approach Sidney's 'Arcadia' - maybe it soars on stage. (Latham's Arden edition is as frustrating as ever, with scholarly cavilling creating a stumbling read, and an introduction which characteristically neuters everything that makes Shakespeare so exciting and challenging)
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality
This was super thin so it just came in an envelope and I didn't have to go to the post office to pick it up! Read more
Published 12 months ago by Sarah
5.0 out of 5 stars As he liked it
Out of all the great Shakespeare's plays, "As You Like It" is undoubtedly... the fluffiest. This is cotton candy. Read more
Published on May 2 2011 by E. A Solinas
4.0 out of 5 stars NEVER PICTURE PERFECT
Anyone with a working knowledge of Shakespeare's plays knows that As You Like It is a light, airy comedy. It is clearly not one of Shakespeare's greatest plays. Read more
Published on May 13 2003 by NotATameLion
3.0 out of 5 stars don't get it
i've watched two different versions of this play and still can't see what the fuss is about. yes, rosalind is a charming character, but the main storyline is limp, and the... Read more
Published on May 4 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars wow.........
As all the other comedies of Shakespeare, As You Like It has the same witty exchange of insults between the men, and prolonged talk of nonsense between the women. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2002 by kp
5.0 out of 5 stars as u like it!!
This book was one of my best loved Shakespeare's plays. It really gave me comfort and laugh whenever I read it. Read more
Published on Dec 23 2001 by "springnight"
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical!
"As You Like It" is bar none, one of Shakespeare's VERY best works. It is probably the most poetic of the comedies and contains perhaps as many famous quotations as any... Read more
Published on Oct. 20 2001 by "the_kenosha_kid"
5.0 out of 5 stars as you like it by william shakespeare
This book by william shakespeare, as you like it, was a truely remarkable act. it's funny, relaxed, interesting and understandable. Read more
Published on June 6 2000 by princess waiters
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible comedy-- try to see it performed if possible
As You Like It boasts one of Shakespeare's most vivid, romantic, and just plain fun heroines, Rosalind. Read more
Published on May 2 2000 by "fiammetta"
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